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Iran sends monkey into space

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Black Stars shine to reach last eight

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Protesters spurn offer for talks, defy curfew Egypt violence flares despite emergency moves

Activists protest outside court to support Barrak By B Izzak KUWAIT: In unprecedented scenes, dozens of activists yesterday chanted slogans outside the courtroom where prominent opposition figure and former MP Mussallam AlBarrak was being tried on charges of insulting His Highness the Amir and undermining his status. Security guards allowed only the 40-member defense team, a number of former opposition MPs and a few activists into the small courtroom on the fourth floor of the Palace of Justice Mussallam Al-Barrak in Kuwait City. Upset over being prevented from attending the hearing, the young activists began chanting slogans in support of Barrak who faces jail terms for up to five years if convicted. “Jail us in place of Mussallam Al-Barrak” chanted the activists whose Continued on Page 2

CAIRO: An Egyptian protester waves his national flag as he gestures towards riot police during clashes near Cairo’s Tahrir Square yesterday. — AFP

Max 24º Min 14º High Tide 13:20 & 23:42 Low Tide 06:52 & 18:22

CAIRO: Protesters and riot police clashed in Cairo and the riot-torn city of Port Said as Egypt’s political violence stretched into a fifth day yesterday, despite efforts by the Islamist president to contain the crisis by imposing a state of emergency in three provinces. At least 56 people have been killed in the wave of violence, which has led to the military deploying in Port Said and another city along the Suez Canal and threatened to shake the control of President Mohammed Morsi’s government. The main opposition coalition rejected Morsi’s call for national dialogue to resolve the crisis, demanding that he first make deep concessions to break what opponents call the monopoly that Islamists have tried to impose on power. The National Salvation Front said it wouldn’t join any dialogue until Morsi forms a national unity government and begins work to rewrite parts of the Islamist-backed constitution. Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, which forms the backbone of his rule, have instead tried to take a tougher approach. Angry and at times screaming and wagging his finger, Morsi went on national TV Sunday night and declared a 30-day state of emergency in the Suez Canal provinces of Port Said, Ismailiya and Suez, which are named after their main cities. A nighttime curfew went into effect in those areas yesterday though protesters are likely to challenge it. In Port Said - the hardest hit city so far with at least 44 people killed in clashes over the weekend - thousands poured out into the streets yesterday for the funeral of six people killed during clashes the day before. Continued on Page 13



KUWAIT: The reception hosted by the Indian Ambassador Satish C. Mehta at Hotel Crowne Plaza in progress. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Embassy holds reception to celebrate India Republic Day KUWAIT: A reception was hosted by the Ambassador of India to Kuwait, Satish C. Mehta, and Preeti Mehta at Hotel Crowne Plaza on Sunday evening to celebrate the 64th Republic Day of India. Khalid Sulaiman Al-Jarallah, Undersecretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was the chief guest at the function. High dignitaries attending the event included Mubarak Bneih AlKhurainej, Ac ting Speaker, Kuwait National Assembly, Sheik h Salman Sabah Salem Al-Humoud Al-Sabah, Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs, Dr Mohammad Barrak Al-Haifi, Minister of Health and Jassim Mohamad Al-Khorafi, former speaker. A large number of other prominent Kuwaitis from various walks of life, se ni or off i ci a l s, a m ba s s a d o rs a n d

members of the diplomatic corps, representatives of Indian Community in Kuwait, doctors, engineers, professionals, businessmen, representatives of t h e m e d i a a n d o t h e r d i gn i t a r i e s

attended the function. During his address, the Ambassador spoke about the progress and development of India since its independence. He praised the centuries old close rela-

tions between India and Kuwait and said that these were further strengthened in 2012. The Ambassador conveyed his best wishes and greetings to HH the Amir,

HH the Crown Prince, HH the Prime Minister, HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. He also conveyed his good wishes to the friendly State of Kuwait and its people.

Small shops targeted for cash, phone cards Baqala burglary boom By Ben Garcia

Ministry honors Scouts KUWAIT: The Undersecretary of the Ministr y of Interior, Gen Ghazi Abdul Rahman Al-Omar, honored boy Scouts who participated in Arab Police Day celebrations for the year 2012. The Assistant Public Relations Director, Colonel Emad Bader Al-Mulla, accompanied by head of social welfare, Lt. Colonel Yousuf Mirshad, visited the Ahmadi elementary school at Al-Mansouriya after they were deputed by General Al-Omar. The school Principal Laila Qambar, technical inspector for Boy Scouts Hashem Sulaiman, inspector Fatima Arab and Boy Scout leader Abeer Fayez welcomed both of

them. The two officials also visited Mariam Abdul Malik Al-Saleh School for girls at Khalidiya where they were met by school Principal Amina Al-Omar, general inspector for Girl Scouts Laila Al-Baejan and inspectors Suhair Ahmad and Nawal Ibrahim. Al-Mulla conveyed to the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts the greetings of the Undersecretary General Al-Omar and thanked them for participating in this festival. Colonel Al-Mulla also appreciated the efforts of inspectors and scouts and wished them success. At the end of the visit, memorial shields were presented to the principals of the two schools.

Activists protest outside court... Continued from Page 1 loud slogans were being clearly heard in the courtroom by the presiding judge. They also chanted: “Mussallm: You are the conscience of the whole nation” and “All of us are your children”. Police did not interfere and allowed the activists to do whatever they wanted. The activists carried Barrak when he came out of the court and even chanted louder slogans. They went down the stairs shouting and expressing support for Barrak. At the internal gate of the Palace of Justice, Barrak delivered a speech to around 200 people, declaring that the “protests will continue” stressing that “your jails, batons and teargas bombs will not stop us”. “This is a war against corruption and corrupt people because they are trying to steal the future of our children and the future of Kuwait... We will not accept this,” Barrak said. “We are not against the regime but against corruption,” said Barrak. He said that the defense team requested a one-month period to prepare for the final defense arguments but the court gave them only two weeks until February 11.

Barrak later spoke to reporters just outside the Palace of Justice, insisting that it’s “time that the people managed its own affairs through an elected government”. The former opposition lawmaker is on trial because of remarks he made at a public rally on October 15 and deemed highly offensive against HH the Amir. The criminal court is scheduled to issue its verdict on two former MPs, Falah AlSawwagh and Khaled Al-Tahous, and member of scrapped assembly Bader AlDahoum on February 5 over similar charges. The court had already sentenced two opposition tweeters for two years imprisonment each for writing tweets found by the court to be insulting to HH the Amir. Several other tweeters and opposition activists are facing similar charges or for taking part in “illegal” demonstrations. Meanwhile, two former opposition MPs Salem Al-Namlan and Mubarak Al-Waalan are due to appear before the public prosecutor tomorrow on accusations of taking part in unlicensed demonstrations. In the meantime, MP Nabeel Al-Fadhl described the protest outside the courtroom as an attempt to “terrorize” the court and termed the action as barbaric.

KUWAIT: Baqalas are the new targets for many a burglars. A Jleeb-based baqala was targeted by robbers twice last year, and decamped with KD2000 in cash, boxes of cigarettes, phone recharge cards and several other grocery products apart from many other items. Investigations are also on to trace a man who committed an armed robbery at a shop in Salmiya at knifepoint. The incident took place at a baqala adjacent to a building being used as head office of the Ministry of Electricity and Water’s labor union. The suspect reportedly ran away with KD100 and phone credit recharge cards. Even as the crime graph headed northwards, focus has shifted to law-enforcement and punishment being meted out to the perpetrators. Victims claim that criminals are not being punished adequately. An Interior Ministry source, who spoke with this reporter on the condition of anonymity, said though the cases of robbery in Kuwait were not very alarming, they were monitoring areas all over Kuwait to secure and protect the interests of Kuwaitis and expatriates alike. The source also added that police visibility has been increased but stationing personnel at every corner of Kuwait was not possible. Regardless of the police’s denials about an increase in baqala thefts, such crime has become more rampant in many areas recently. Statistics released by the Ministry of Interior’s Criminal Evidence General Department for the first six months of 2012 show 1571 cases of robberies and attempted robberies on properties (homes, cars, baqalas and other shops) reported in the first half of 2012, compared to 3193 in all of 2011 and 2420 in all of 2010. “I reported the first robbery at my baqala to the police who only asked me my name and where my baqala was. I thought they will come and check out the crime scene but no one came,” a Bangladeshi baqala owner told the Kuwait Times yesterday. He refused to be photographed or allow his name to be used in this report to avoid any backlash from the police. “The second robbery was in September last year. I

KUWAIT: One of the baqalas in Kuwait. This picture is used for illustrative purpose only. went again to the same police station, reported the case and was told that there were many ‘haramis’ (thieves) in Jleeb and such crimes were being committed by Bengalis and Egyptians from the South of Egypt. I was advised to go home. I went home and unfortunately till now, I have not heard from the police,” the baqala owner lamented. He explained that the burglars were able to enter the baqala by cutting open the steel lock of the baqala door. The baqala owner said that the robbers took KD1000 in cash during the first robbery a similar amount the second time. They also took away all of our costly telecommunication cards and expensive groceries. Second time, the robbers entered by removing an air-conditioning unit. If you noticed now, we have already closed it permanently by putting a steel window lock on it because we do not want a repeat of the same,” he added. The baqala owner lives about 500 meters

away and used to open his baqala at six in the morning and close it at 1am. A supervisor at a small restaurant in Jleeb said he suffered a burglary in 2012 but did not report it to the police. “We did not lose anything except two air-conditioning units which were stolen six months ago. We did not report the case to the police because we know nothing will happen and we know how it works. Our neighbor suffered a burglary but no action was taken against the perpetrators. We just had to replace the unit and considered it case solved without any hassle or police’s intervention.” Jleeb and Salmiya are two areas in Kuwait which have a predominant population of expatriates. In the meantime, there was another case of baqala burglary reported in July 2012 near a police station in Salmiya. In the same street in Jleeb, two air-conditioning units were also stolen from a Bengali restaurant in June last year.

Amir ‘architect’ of Kuwait’s promotion globally KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah will be eternally remembered as a pioneering leader of sustainable accomplishments and his role as architect of process of promoting status of State of Kuwait among nations of the globe, the Director-General of Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) has affirmed. His Highness succeeded, as a result of his 40-year leadership of the national diplomatic authority, in establishing foundations of solid, balanced and equal relations with most states, on basis of mutual respect and common interests, said Sheikh Mubarak Al-Duaij Al-Ibrahim Al-Sabah, also the Chairman of the national news agency, marking the seventh anniversary of Sheikh Sabah’s proclamation as the Amir of the State of Kuwait. HH the Amir, throughout his life, was keen on safeguarding interests of Kuwait, promoting its international role, elating its status in the international quarters, through communications and relations with various states and his mediation missions to resolve plenty of causes and crises in Arab and foreign countries, Sheikh Mubarak stated in a press release

on the occasion of Sheikh Sabah’s assumption to power on January 29, 2006. Sheikh Sabah has accumulated abundant experience since 1954, when he was named member of the higher executive committee charged with running affairs of the country, regulating government departments. Moreover, he has accomplished great successful achievements in his service in a chain of posts. Cultural activities noticeably grew when he took over the publishing department, and Kuwait became more eminent abroad due to publications such as Al-Arabi magazine. “We recall with pride and gratitude His Highness’ sincere contributions to making the modern history of Kuwait, side by side with his companions of his life, the late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad and the late Father Amir Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah, may God bless their souls, in the renaissance march witnessed in Kuwait,” said the KUNA chief. Recollecting Sheikh Sabah’s long record of fruitful works and achievement, Sheikh Mubarak said Sheikh Sabah, when he became in charge of the department of social affairs, a significant boost was given to cooperative

activities. Cooperative societies were established, thus turning into the core of the cooperative movement n Kuwait that developed into a major sector at the regional level. As to his role during the plight of the flagrant “Saddami invasion” in 1990, Sheikh Mubarak indicated that Sheikh Sabah, along with the late Amir Sheikh Jaber and the late Father Amir engineered the process of liberation of the country, with formation of an unprecedented international coalition to drive the occupation forces out of the country and reinstate legitimacy. Sheikh Sabah, since taking the helm of power seven years ago, has been working diligently for sake of translating into reality aspirations of the ancestors of making Kuwait a modern state, armed with sciences and knowledge with adoption of a policy based on renewal, development and innovation. His Highness has proven to be a statesman of unique caliber, due to his cordial feelings toward his people, keenness on interests of the homeland, adherence to democracy, boosting the rule of the constitution and laws and preserving the genuine values of the natives. — KUNA



KUWAIT: Former opposition MPs from left to right: Badr Al-Dahoum, Falah Al-Sawwagh and Nayef Al-Mirdas, wave to Kuwaiti former opposition MP Mussallam Al-Barrak as he leaves the Palace of Justice surrounded by his supporters yesterday. (Center) Former opposition MP Mussallam Al-Barrak is seen reflected in a car mirror after leaving the palace of justice surrounded by his supporters in Kuwait City yesterday. (Right) Opposition leader and former MP Mussallam Al-Barrak speaks to reporters after leaving the Palace of Justice surrounded by his supporters yesterday. Dozens of Kuwaiti activists staged an unprecedented protest outside the courtroom where Al-Barrak was being tried on charges of insulting His Highness the Amir. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Syria donors to meet in Kuwait tomorrow KUWAIT: Kuwait tomorrow hosts a UNsponsored global donors conference aimed at raising $1.5 billion in aid for around five million Syrians facing hardships from their country’s 22-month deadly conflict. The International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria comes as the United Nations prepares to undertake a massive humanitarian effort to provide basic needs for four million Syrians inside the country and more than 650,000 refugees in neighboring countries. The conference, to be attended by UN chief Ban Ki-moon, will be opened by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Sabah and local media reports say the oil-rich Gulf state will offer a “generous donation” put by some unofficial reports at $500 million. “The UN hopes that the network of donor countries and parties will be expanded to meet the needs of more than four million Syrians in dire need of humanitarian aid,” Nejib Friji, UN media coordinator for the conference, said. He said that the number of countries attending the conference was above expectations. Kuwaiti newspapers said representatives from around 60 countries are to attend the one-day conference including Russia and Iran, the two main backers of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. “The humanitarian situation in Syria is already catastrophic and is getting worse. Four million people face unrelenting violence and human rights violations,” UN humanitarian aid chief Valerie Amos said in a message ahead of the conference. “More than 650,000 people have fled the country. Ordinary people

are paying a heavy price for the failure of the international community to agree steps to resolve the political crisis,” she said. Amos said the United Nations was feeding 1.5 million people and providing basic relief supplies for some 400,000 people, “but it is just not enough.” Ban himself said last month that half of civilians affected by the conflict were children. Last week, John Ging, a top UN official, led a team of senior UN emergency operations officials to assess the onground situation in Syria. “Our mission is clear: There is a lot to do, it is urgent and we want to better understand how we can meet the expectations of the people to deliver humanitarian assistance quickly and effectively,” Ging said. He said the main problem facing the programme is a steep shortfall in the budget. “Our appeal was only 50 percent funded, so we were able to deliver 50 percent of what we had appealed for,” he said. His team travelled to Daraa in the south, Homs in central Syria, and Talbiyeh, a nearby town besieged by the army for months. The trip was facilitated by the two warring sides. Today, 60 charity and humanitarian organisations will also hold a meeting for the same purpose, said the chairman of Kuwait’s International Islamic Charity Foundation, Abdullah al-Maatouq. The United Nations says that more than 60,000 people have been killed in Syria’s uprising, which broke out in March 2011 with peaceful protests but morphed into an armed insurgency after a harsh regime crackdown. — AFP

Asian arrested for drug possession By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: Drug enforcement agents’ operational administration arrested an Asian expat for possessing one and a half kilogram of heroin and other kinds of drugs. After receiving information about the Asian’s activities in drugs trade, and after making necessary investigation and observing legal formalities, the suspect was caught red-handed. The police found from his residence one and a half kg of pure heroin, 1000 drug tablets and a scale to check drug sensitivity. He confessed to trading in drugs, and was sent along with the contraband to the concerned authorities. Director of drug administration, Brig Saleh Ghannam Al Enazie, said that drugs were destroying our youth who are the real wealth of this nation. He explained that top leadership at the Ministry of Interior, represented by First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Ahmad Al Hmoud, was greatly concerned about the drug culture. Their instructions were being followed keenly by the undersecretary, General Ghazi Al-Omar. He pointed that based on the instructions from the assistant undersecretary, Lt Genreal Abdul Hameed Al Awadhi, the administration entrusted with fighting the drug culture was making efforts to explain to the citizens and expats about the dangers inherent in drugs. They were being made aware about how to prevent drugs. He said the officials were playing their due role and arresting drug dealers and confiscating the money used to fund drugs trafficking. An anti-drug drive was on throughout the year. He said that any drug addict can give up drugs if he has a strong will, as it would help him bear the pain and commit himself to treatment to shun the addiction. The families of the addicts can also help them do so. He concluded that the family should consider the addict as a patient who needs treatment and they should not be ashamed of it. Rather, they should hasten to send him for treatment. Drunk officer A lieutenant colonel working with the Ministry of Interior was found in an inebriated state at the Doha Expressway and was arrested , security sources said. Police received a report against the suspect that said he landed at a camp accompanied by four vehicles and fired indiscriminately at the campers. He also set afire a large tent set up for parties. The man who reported the case found two shells at the camp and handed these over to the police. Later, the suspect escaped from the police station during interrogation. The director of Jahra security immediately ordered detention of the police station personnel present at the time. However, hours later, the officer turned himself in while being in an inebriated state and the interrogation resumed.

Al-Rashed lashes out at opposition activities Call for unconditional dialogue By A. Saleh KUWAIT: Parliament Speaker Ali Al-Rashed criticized the Kuwaiti opposition’s move to reach out to international organizations to complain against the government for preventing unlicensed demonstrations. “Our differences can only be resolved through unconditional dialogue,” Al-Rashed told Emirati newspaper AlBayan on Sunday. He also described the opposition’s move as potentially an activity akin to ‘treason.’ “[Kuwait] is not an oppressive state... we live in a country that has freedoms and democracy and in which different opinions can be expressed freely,” he added. Al-Rashed’s interview was published a day after he arrived in the United Arab Emirates, heading a Kuwaiti parliamentary delegation on

an official three-day visit. “The Kuwaiti people are tired of merely debating without accomplishing any work, and are eager for action and real development,” Al-Rashid said. Meanwhile, former speaker Jassem Al-Khorafi said that the international community “knows Kuwait’s status and commitment towards democracy.” In a statement yesterday, he said, “The European Parliament’s warning about Kuwait being dragged into chaos was directed at the troublemakers, not the Kuwaiti government.” In other news, MP Safaa Al-Hashim said she was still waiting for a response from the First Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister to a question in which she had asked for the names of Kuwaitis reportedly involved in funding networks affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood. These networks were caught in the United Arab Emirates recently. “It is important that Prime

Minister HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah lives up to his promise when he gave an assurance to reveal these names,” she said in a statement which coincided with the beginning of the trial of the members of this controversial network in the UAE. Separately, MPs Adel Al-Khurafi, Faisal AlKandari and Tahir Al-Failakawi announced in a press conference yesterday their plan to form a parliamentary bloc which will aim at “converging similar opinions and efforts to achieve people’s ambitions.” Also yesterday, MP Yaqoub Al-Sane’a asked Minister of Cabinet Affairs and State Minister of Municipality Affairs, Sheikh Mohammad AlAbdullah, whether the increasing number of expatriate communities in Kuwait had affected the chances of 19,054 people registered on the waiting list for employment in the public sector.

KJA holds writing workshop KUWAIT: The Kuwait Journalists’ Association held a workshop titled “Writing media reports on human rights” in cooperation with the Canadian Embassy. The Canadian Ambassador to Kuwait, Douglas George, who inaugurated the workshop, said Canada is considered a strong nation in terms of democracy and equality among all citizens. He said Canada’s population was about 24 million and its democracy dates back more than 160 years. The Ambassador, who came to Kuwait

about a year ago, said both Kuwait and Canada have democracy as common factor. Pointing out that the training course being conducted by Canadian journalist Dr Pong Alan, one of the well known trainers in “Journalists for human rights’ organization,” was very important in improving one’s skills in writing the human rights reports, considering that she is the best in making people aware of their rights. The Ambassador added that the media is very important in any democracy. He empha-

sized that while it should be developed, the government’s supervision of the media must not hamper its work or stop reports about human rights written in a transparent way. On his part, the chairman of the KJA and also of the Arab Journalists’ Union, Ahmad Behbehani, thanked the Canadian Ambassador for his role in making the workshop possible. He also thanked the participants of the course and human rights activists and wished that members would benefit from such courses.

Joint investigations in ‘human trafficking’ companies KUWAIT: The Migration Investigation Department detectives, in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, began formalities to prosecute companies involved in human trafficking and hacking into the MSAL’s database, a local newspaper reported yesterday quoting sources with knowledge of the case. The move was in keeping with the instructions of the Interior Ministry’s Undersecretary Assistant for Citizenship, Passports and Migration Affairs, Major General Abdullah Al-Rashid, who on his part followed the instructions of the First Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Hmoud AlSabah.

The minister was reportedly approached by Minister of Social Affairs and Labor, Thekra Al-Rashidi, who requested police investigation in cases in which companies managed to increase the maximum number of staff sanctioned in their profiles in the MSAL database. Companies often resort to such practices to sell the extra work permits after obtaining these by manipulating the MSAL’s automated labor filing system. These permits are sold to the expatriate laborers who can then stay in Kuwait on the basis of these illegally acquired permits. According to the sources who spoke to Al-Jarida on the condition of anonymity,

owners and representatives of at least 50 companies have so far been summoned as part of the ongoing investigation. “Preliminary results indicate that senior employees in MSAL labor departments are involved in the case,” the sources said, hinting that these officials helped the companies in question by changing the labor rates illegally for them. They also pointed out that detectives discovered a ‘loophole’ in the automated system “which allowed for it to be hacked multiple times for facilitating residency trade.” The news comes simultaneously with statements of the MSAL’s Undersecretary Assistant for Labor Affairs, Jamal AlDousary, who confirmed that “coopera-

tion is ongoing” with authorities to investigate extra labor assessments added illegally to company profiles in his ministry’s database. Meanwhile, Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Thekra Al-Rashidi reiterated her commitment to use all the authorities invested in the minister “to take forward the reform measures I feel are necessary to address problems I see in any of the ministry’s departments.” She further announced in statements made exclusively to Al-Rai while discussing the MSAL’s 2013 work plan that a shelter for domestic helpers with a maximum capacity of 700 people would be opened soon.



Local Spotlight

The column

The human element

Domestic workers & ILO

By Fouad Al-Obaid

By Muna Al-Fuzai Twitter: @Fouadalobaid



ver the past few days I came across several incidents of fellow young nationals some no older than 7 years that are left to roam the streets without any parental or adult supervision. Some of them when left to fend for their own tend to cluster into groups that often find solace in roaming the local co-ops, as they happen to be the closest venues they physically can reach without the need of a car. The first of two incidents I would like to highlight before discussing the wider issue of human resource development in Kuwait is as follow; a group of five youths with small firecrackers who around 9 pm in one of the countries co-ops went around throwing their firecrackers at shops and near non-national bystanders. I didn’t know what was more disturbing was that people didn’t seem to care to intervene or that the kids thought that such was a decent way to spend their free time and that without parental concern they felt that they have no one to control them? The second incident was young pre-teenagers perhaps as young as 10, were on a small KTM style bike with no helmets, and certainly no adequate protection attempting to transform a Coop parking lot into a race venue to experiment their prowess in motor biking! At such a point vivid memoires of a kin came to me that passed away in a motorbike accident, prompting me to question whether the parents of such kids deserved to be parents in the first place! Did they not fear for their lives? Do they find that kids roaming in small bikes in the parking lot of a Co-op normal? The abovementioned incidents are only but a few examples that paint a not so flattering picture of our youth that are dually neglected by families, and by a State that seems non-interested in fostering what should be its most prized natural resource; its youth! Throughout the world, demographic plays a key role in national development. The youth represent the dynamic upcoming generation that has the potential to lift-up the country into prosperity, or drive it to utter destruction and poverty. What we are seeing around us is a rise of a generation that has seen a drastic rise in crime: crime that it is perpetrating with little regard for punishment. We find the notion of impunity in the night time rioters for instance, or with the more traumatic rise in the number of horrific stabbing that have been on the rise is which are but symptoms of a wider malaise that the young of this country affected by. The disrespect of authority and of the laws can only but be attributed to a reality that ‘they’ the youth perceive. After all, can they be blamed that chaos, corruption and impunity have become so common that they don’t see the need to follow orders or obey laws, rather as if in a jungle, they all want to create their own laws as they go. It is as if they are attempting to live ‘Darwinian’ theory of the rise of strong at the expense of the weak. The danger of such a notion is that in the long term we risk a rise in crime, a decrease in productivity which ultimately will leave us with an even more corrupt society that will gradually loose its very purpose. The remedy is not easy, nor will it be without its own shortfalls, however at this point it is more than necessary. People need to see the effect of their action by proper judicial mechanisms that are open to the public and would act as a deterrent for future crime. It is not possible that people have come to believe that it is more than okay to enter a mall, buy a kitchen knife, stab to death a victim that they are not linked to, and think that such is a normal action void of serious consequence. It is up to the State to uphold its duty of justice and equality in its pursuit of vagabonds and criminals of all sorts. Just as much as it is the duty of the State and its institution to help foster the upcoming generation of youth and to find means to adequately channel their energy into constructive ventures that would be beneficial to all...

In my view

Second chance for Mahmoud

In my view

Levying fees at police stations By Thaar Al Rashidi


did not see the proposal that recommended levying a fee on anyone who wants to file a report at any of the police stations. A report about such a proposal was published in the Al Anbaa newspaper by our colleague, Musa Abu Tafra. Now imagine a scenario after the law is passed in which someone goes to a police station to file a report. Surely, as soon as he would enter the police station, he will come across a price list, just as at a barber shop. It would detail the fees for various kinds of reports; for example a “traffic accident report” would be priced at KD 0.500, a report about a “car theft” at KD 1.250, “house theft” report filing would come for KD 2.000. God forbid, if a loved one was killed, the report would cost KD 5 with the proviso that the body would be transported only at the expense of the man reporting the crime. The rate list would possibly be sprinkled with some generosities also; thus a report about having “been beaten by your wife” would be registered free of charge. I think at the bottom of such a thoughtfully drafted rate list, the law will also have a proviso for inclusion of a footnote which will read something like this: “Dear clients, there are certain people against whom no case will be filed, irrespective of whatever you do and how much so ever you are ready to pay. We apologize for this intended defect in the system.” Regardless of the fact that this proposal is just an academic exercise and will never see the

light of the day - even I am sure that most likely it will not fructify since it has been attributed to a source and not to any official - certain reformist steps are needed. If such a proposal is to be implemented, it would require an administrative law which will have to be approved and will have to go through a round of fatwas and legislative exercises, then through the council of ministers etc. In plain words, if it is to be approved, it would need around 60 years to see the light of the day. What was most necessary, before the idea of collecting fees like that crosses anyone’s mind, is that the Ministry of Interior must update all its police stations and increase the number of security personnel in each police station. It also needs to add new equipment, particularly because many police stations lack many facilities. Therefore, I believe that studies should concentrate on these aspects, and most importantly they should concentrate on encouraging the youth to join the police. Under the current law, there have been demands for registering in some courses over the past few years. Note: Some TV news announcers on a certain channel become so excited while reeling out news that at times it seems the news presenter will break through the TV screen and jump right into the room. Please take it easy, you are only reading a news bulletin, not teaching viewers the news. — Al-Anbaa

In my view

In my view

Attacking a wrong person

Procrastination of bedoons issue By Dr Hassan Abbas


t seems that there is no solution on the horizon for the longstanding problem of bedoons. Not only is a solution missing, but there also seems little hope that a solution might come up in the foreseeable future. Kuwait’s government has prolonged the issue and passed up opportunity after opportunity to find a solution with minimal losses. I believe they were trying to resolve the problem by ignoring it, postponing procedures, forming committees, waiting for legislations from the parliament and other seemingly outdated measures. This procrastination mentality does not work in the light of the current events the region and the entire world are going through today. The region has not only reached a boiling point, but has also taken huge leaps towards achieving change. It is currently experiencing a new reality of change, transformation and overthrowing regimes which held power for decades. Internally, people grew claws and fangs by which they were able to overthrow dictatorships which ruled them with an iron fist. From the

outside, there were issues like Israel, the west and real ongoing wars. Between foreign intervention, government corruption, political Islam, internal and foreign opposition, Islamic jihad, economic recession and other terms we hear recurrently, we no longer have a clear vision of what exactly is going on around us. In the light of this scary situation, what is the Kuwaiti government waiting for before resolving the Bedoons’ issue? How can we seek stability when creative chaos is approaching our borders? Leave aside conspiracies and foreign threats, does ignoring the problem of thousands of human beings who have been living for decades without any identity and only served empty promises, help the country live in stability in a shaky region? The government needs to put an end to the systematic disrespect being meted out to human beings and solve the Bedoons’ issue on humanitarian basis and also find solutions to its legal aspects. —Al-Rai

By Ahmad Al-Sarraf


ahmoud is a young man who at one point of his life was known for all the negative attributes that contradicted the meaning of his name, which, in Arabic, means a man of good ethics and manners. Wandering aimlessly in malls, creating trouble and engaging in altercations and fights was almost his routine. His actions made him a frequent visitor to police stations, and often also hospitals, given the injuries he sustained during the fights. His continuously getting into trouble led him eventually to become a school drop out and spend more time in the streets and shopping malls. Despite his violent behavior and the poor living conditions he went through, Mahmoud had an artistic sensibility. He would usually engage in actions that would be aimed at seeking attention, something that could perhaps explain why he used to become involved in public fights. One day, Mahmoud accompanied his friend to LOYAC, where he sat down and watched a group of young men and women rehearsing a play. After that, he rushed to the organization’s management and asked if he could join the team. Mahmoud sat down with a supervisor who after learning about his circumstances and history of troubles, knew that not only could she help save him from a dark future, but could also discover a promising talent. Soon after joining the theater team, signs of positive change became visible. Gone was Mahmoud’s violent behavior, he was soon back in school and stopped wandering aimlessly in the malls, instead spending most of his time in LOYAC. This is a story that the supervisor shared with me, which she said is one of many similar stories she experienced during her time with LOYAC. She wanted to tell me about it after the murder in a shopping mall last month because she felt that there was a strong chance that Mahmoud could have become involved in a similar incident - whether as a victim or perpetrator - had he not joined her organization. The supervisor also told me that LOYAC would in many cases have to pay small fees to help similar volunteers like Mahmoud pay for transportation and other expenses. “The financial cost of taking care of those who live in hard conditions is not easy, especially when it is added to the trainers’ salaries and other expenses,” she added. —Al-Qabas

n a data crunching exercise which would shock many, the Director of International Labor Organization (ILO) in Kuwait, Mr Thabet Al-Haroon, said of the more than 52 million domestic workers in the world in 2010, 83 percent were women. To me, it was certainly surprising to hear that the female workers outnumbered with such a huge margin. Does that mean they have more sense of responsibility and motive to improve their life standards and secure their future than men? Mr Al-Haroun said several domestic workers were deprived of protection and 45 percent among them do not enjoy any weekends or annual paid leave. He revealed that the ILO had estimated the domestic child labor to have reached 7.4 million in 2008. I am interested in bringing up two key points here today, that about married female domestic workers and child labor. First, it really struck me that the large number of women who travel abroad for work make enough money and secure their future. What about their husbands and why don’t they leave their homes for work while the wives stay back with the children and look after the family? Is the increase in the number of requests to hire women instead of men due to any special preference? If yes, what could be the reason behind it? Was this ever examined as an issue? Some may argue that the fact that women are hired instead of men was to do with the reality that people in this region are conservative in nature. It could be one answer but I wonder if this is the only justification? Second, what about those women who go to western countries to work? Do they receive better salaries and how do they cope up with the life there? Finally, I was also surprised to learn that domestic child labor had reached 7.4 million in 2008. Are there any recent statistics? Here in Kuwait, there are certain requirements regarding the age of the domestic labor and this has to be proved on the basis of a birth certificate but most such workers come from villages and were born at home, not in a hospital. So, there is a possibility that their age was not correctly recorded and could have been fudged to match the requirements of the recruitment agencies and the country to which they intend to travel. I hope the ILO would focus on following up such issues because the more we know about such labourers and their needs, the more we will be in a position to help them.

kuwait digest

Flawed official policies By Aziza Al-Mufarej


ear people, this is our country, and it is not something we simply picked up randomly in a street and can give away easily. We cannot hand over our country just because someone is following very flawed policies and no one is stopping that from happening. The Awqaf Ministry controlled by HADAS or the Muslim Brotherhood’s Kuwait Branch brings in a group of some 200 preachers from Egypt every year. They are given villas and flats to live. Is it such a hard profession that Kuwaitis stay away from it? If it is so repulsive and if there is no career advancement in it, then how do we explain the mosques that we build every year, which in turn require all these Imams and people who call the devout for prayers? And apart from anything else, is the government aware about the ideology of these employees or the ideologies of tens of thousands of others whom we receive every year? Does the government satisfy itself about their loyalties, as distinct from their educational degrees? An Undersecretary who has been in his post for ages is a member of the Brotherhood, so was a former minister. It will be no surprise if many such people were to be found in the ministry and in Kuwait since these people have the same ideology, especially since this group believes in the idea that there is no homeland in Islam. In his interview with Al-Watan newspaper, Dr. Tharwat Al-Kharbawi, a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, admitted that there was an Egyptian Brotherhood Organization in Kuwait, and added that they were waiting for the fall of Bashar Al-Asad in Syria to launch the Caliphate State. Khairat Al-Shater is looking to become the leader of a Muslim Caliph whenever it is launched. We understand from his words that it will be our turn after the fall of Syria. The planned Caliphate

State will need a central bank to finance it. It will need massive cash, and of course there was no one better placed than Kuwait and the UAE to play this role as these countries have small populations and abundant wealth. The plans and manpower to control these were prepared a long time ago. Dr. Tharwat Al-Kharbawi warned against the Muslim Brotherhood group and considered it among the most dangerous groups in the history of the Muslim nation. Despite all that, we are behaving in a way that can only be described as suicidal, otherwise why would we host another problem by having the Iraqi embassy once again as many Iraqi spies work there? We have also granted another Arab Embassy the same facilities, including the right to establish societies that belong to it. Only God knows what goes on there and it could be contradictory to the country’s interest. As for the issue of expat labor, we have been making many mistakes that we must correct if we care about Kuwait and its people. Currently, the issue is that groups like Muslim Brotherhood are posing a threat to the stability of the regimes in Gulf countries. Since Kuwait already has an Arab Brotherhood Organization, it becomes even more important to exercise caution. The government must know that the followers of the Murshid in Egypt, who work in Kuwait, are trained and have gathered here waiting for the zero hour to strike when they will help their brothers in overthrowing the regime and fulfilling the Caliphate dream. The government must act fast to take all necessary measures to save the country, and not to take it easy. We must not give the Brotherhood a chance to achieve what others failed to do. — Al-Watan

By Abdallah Bwair


am writing this article not as an attempt to defend Sheikha Fraiha Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah against those who are reacting to her recent statements about organizers of public demonstrations, but because I think one must not remain silent when injustice is happening to someone. Many officials are often misquoted or their statements made in public are misinterpreted. Sheikha Fraiha is like any other Kuwaiti citizen who feels concerned about what is happening in our beloved Kuwait. There are those who claim to be fighting for the dignity of our nation. I personally find it surprising that Sheikha Fraiha, the President of the Kuwaiti Ideal Family Association, was quoted as suggesting that demonstrators or those taking part in protests were “dual citizens” and “not original Kuwaitis.” The Sheikha Fraiha that I know is usually the first to stress the importance of inculcating the values of national unity and patriotism among young citizens. Those who like to fish in troubled waters must keep that in mind. Many of us are convinced that organizers of public demonstrators did not have the best interests of Kuwait in their hearts and were not worried about maintaining safety and security of the people. It is no secret that this was not the first time that Sheikha Fraiha was wrongfully accused of making controversial remarks. Also, it is no secret either that Sheikha Fraiha has always dedicated her life for the welfare of Kuwait and its loyal citizens. Instead of fabricating lies about Sheikha Fraiha’s statements, the skeptics should see what actions were committed during recent demonstrations condemned by both citizens and expatriates. These demonstrations came at a time when Kuwaiti citizens should be grateful for the countless privileges that we enjoy. Sheikha Fraiha has always warned against assaulting security officers who risk their own safety while serving their country. She was not shy to point out that the attacks by some demonstrators on police officers could have been worse if it were not for providence and the wise approach of the officers. Sheikha Fraiha has always described violations of law as being a ‘clear instigation against the state’ and against ‘the reputation of the state,’ but at the same time insisted that such actions were individual and reflect lack of true awareness about the risks that Kuwait faces.



An occasion for Australians to reflect on history By Robert Tyson Australian Ambassador What does Australia Day commemorate? ustralia Day marks the establishment of the first settlement at Port Jackson, now part of Sydney, in 1778. This year is the 225th anniversary of that event. More importantly, Australia Day is a suitable occasion for Australians to reflect on our history and to celebrate the diverse, multicultural society we now enjoy. It encourages us to appreciate the contributions of our ancestors, and to welcome the newest Australians, including those attending citizenship ceremonies this week throughout Australia and at embassies all over the world.


Gulfmart celebrates Indian Republic day KUWAIT: Kuwait’s popular chain of Supermarket Gulfmart celebrated India’s 64th Republic day at their Shuwaikh Showroom on Jan 26. Gulfmart Kuwait celebrated the joyous moment with their valuable customers and well-wishers at a function held at Shuwaikh Branch. Indian Ambassador to Kuwait Satish C Mehta and Preeti Mehta inaugurated the celebration by cutting the cake in presence of TA Remesh, country head, Gulfmart and a galaxy of distinguished guests and eminent personalities from the Indian community. During the celebration, Preeti Mehta inaugurated the renovated telecom and mobile accessories section at the Gulfmart showroom.

Prominent members of the Indian community including IDF Chairman DrNabpoory, Business personalities including Kuldeep Singh Lamba, Ashok Kalra, Juzar Ali, Air India’s Country Manager Ajay Sinha, VijayanKarayil, AbiVaricadu, Dr PC Nair, along with leaders of various Indian community organizations and Gulfmart officials attended the Republic Day celebrations. Variety of cultural programs including Punjabi Dance, ChendaMelam, electrical fireworks, orchestra etc added colors to the celebration. Large number of Gulfmart customers with their family and kids enjoyed the colorful celebrations. Gifts were distributed to kids and the participants.

What are the main features of Australia’s business relationship with Kuwait? As we approach the 22nd commemoration of the Liberation of Kuwait, it is important to reflect on the strength of our bilateral relationship. Australia remains a strong supporter of Kuwait’s independence and security. Our armed forces were proud to stand alongside Kuwaitis during liberation and have maintained a close relationship ever since. Australia’s trade relationship with the Gulf goes back at least 50 years. For example, we have been exporting motor vehicles to Kuwait since the 1960s. Kuwaitis and Australians have had extensive contact with one another and done much business together. Our bilateral trade relationship is substantial, with strong potential for further expansion in commodities and manufactures, services and investment. Officially, two-way trade last year amounted to KD311 million. Actual figures are somewhat higher, as many items are trans-shipped via Dubai, and therefore not counted against Kuwait in the official statistics. Kuwait remains an important market for Australian exports of passenger motor vehicles (Toyota Camry and Chevrolet Caprice), live animals, wheat and barley. It is a significant market also for Australian dairy and food products, and a growing market for educational services and information technology exports. Kuwaiti companies are engaged in a diverse range of activities in Australia, including banking, commercial real estate, mining and logistics. The Kuwait Investment Authority, has significant investments in Australia, and total Kuwaiti investment from all sources is around KD1.5 billion. Australian companies also recognize the opportunities in Kuwait, a country with an outward looking business culture, a long mercantile tradition and ambitious civil infrastructure projects in planning - also located in one of the most economically dynamic regions of the world. Reforms to company legislation are the most recent sign that Kuwait is seeking to maximize its economic potential. Australian building, construction, information technology and service companies are all represented here and are planning to expand. In which other areas are there close contacts between Kuwait and Australia? Beyond business, our relationship has continued to expand across a broad range of interests and activities. Australia and Kuwait share a deep commitment to peace and stability, and our governments cooperate closely on many regional and global issues. Also, and unique in the region, Kuwait shares with us a proud tradition of robust political debate. Educational institutions such as the Australian College of Kuwait and Box Hill College of Kuwait, plus the growing number of students from Kuwaiti attending Australian universities, add real depth and durability to our bilateral relationship by building personal links between our societies. All Australian universities have been accepted by Kuwait as suitable for scholarship students, and approximately 1,000 Kuwaiti students are currently enrolled. Some 4,000 Kuwaiti tourists visit Australia every year and, with Kuwaitis well known for their desire to travel, this number is likely to increase rapidly. Australia is a safe country, welcoming of Muslim tourists, with many mosques located throughout the major tourist destinations. We have also made it easy for Kuwaitis to obtain visas on-line, with no need to visit the Embassy or to forward their passports. Nearly 1,000 Australians live in Kuwait, employed mainly in the education, banking and security industries. What is the state of the Australian economy in 2013? Our economy is now in its 22nd year of continuous economic growth, a performance unprecedented both in Australia’s economic history and amongst other developed economies. Today, Australia is the fourth largest economy in Asia and the 12th largest economy in the world, reflected in our membership of the G20. A strong and independent financial sector and an effective regulatory system protected Australia from the worst of the global financial crisis. Australia ranks third in the Economic Freedom of the World index, a reflection of our low inflation, sound legal and financial institutions and secure property rights. These facts, combined with our close economic links to the Asia-Pacific region, provide a sound platform for those looking to do business or invest in Australia. What is the political and social structure of Australia? Although Australia is often viewed as a young country, it

‘Initiatives Forum’ adopts three proposals KUWAIT: The Engineering Initiatives Forum adopted three of the initiatives discussed during its first round, held in December under the auspices of His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, said the forum Secretary General and Chairman of Kuwait Engineers Society Husam Al-Kharafi. Addressing a press conference Sunday night, the engineer said the forum’s trustees selected three of the initiatives and would coordinate on their implementation with the local executive and legislative authorities. The first initiatives concerns facilitating and speeding up procedures and construction of housing areas, the second suggests conversion of consultancy offices into shareholder companies, and the third is about creation of a workforce authority that would be in charge of bringing balance between the needs of the job market and the specializations offered by higher educational institutions. Al-Kharafi said the forum set up its standing trustees’ council which includes the Assistant Secretary General of the Arab Towns Organization Ahmad Al-Adsani, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Petroleum at Kuwait University Dr. Hussein Khayyat, technical advisor Dr. Hashem Al-Tabtabaei, and Municipal Council member Mousa Al-Sarraf. Forum member Ahmad Al-Manfouhi meanwhile said the engineers society fulfilled its duty and proposed solutions for many issues including traffic, security, and housing. The housing dossier was most seriously considered. A promising proposal involving founding cities that are self-reliant in terms of housing, investment, and trade and services with managing boards given considerable authority would be presented for consideration at the National Assembly. — KUNA

is in fact one of the oldest continuous democracies in the world, formed as a federation in 1901, and a pioneer in democratic reforms such as ‘one citizen, one vote’, secret ballots, and women’s suffrage which underpin the electoral practices of modern democracies. These reforms were driven by a belief in equality, justice, inclusion, and compassion shared by those who shaped Australia’s early development. Such principles continue to shape Australia today, both in its development as a nation and in its relations with the

Ambassador Robert Tyson international community. A striking feature is Australia’s cultural diversity and social cohesion. There are very few countries where immigrants have achieved a comparable level of economic, political, social and cultural participation. One in four of Australia’s 23 million people was born elsewhere. The Australian-Arab community, for instance, dates from the nineteenth century and today numbers around one million people. Another example is the growth of Islam in Australia: the most recent census recorded a total of more than 340,000 Australian Muslims. What does Australia stand for in the world? Australia is committed to democracy, to human rights and upholding the rule of law, to free trade and effective development assistance, to encouraging cultural exchange and avoiding a clash of civilizations, and to preserving the world’s built heritage and natural environment. For instance, we provide KD1.4 billion a year in development assistance in support of practical ways to reduce poverty and encourage sustainable development. Australia has just been elected to the UN Security Council. What will this mean in practice? Australia has been a long and proud supporter of the UN’s key role in world affairs. We support the UN in tackling difficult global challenges, including climate change, terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, conflict prevention and international development. On many of these issues, we cooperate closely with Kuwait. As a non-permanent member of the Security Council in 2013-14, Australia will be able to contribute more actively to the critical role the UN plays in maintaining global security and prosperity. This will be Australia’s fifth term on the Security Council since joining the UN as a founding member in 1945, and we intend to play a constructive role across the breadth of the Council’s peace and security agenda. Our immediate priorities will include addressing the tragedy of the ongoing conflict in Syria. Do you have any particular message for Kuwaitis on Australia Day? I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad AlSabah on the forthcoming occasion of the 52nd National Day of Kuwait, the 22nd Anniversary of Liberation and the 7th Anniversary of the Amir’s accession; and also to express my appreciation for their encouragement and support of the bilateral relationship. Our efforts at the Australian Embassy here in Kuwait City, in cooperation with our colleagues in the Kuwaiti Embassy in Canberra, are dedicated to increasing the level and volume of cooperation across a range of fields. Increasingly, it is the people-to-people links - through business, study and tourism - which underpin the relationship and assist in increasing awareness and appreciation of each other’s unique culture and society. Kuwaitis and Australians together are adding real depth and breadth to our bilateral relationship. We are building genuine economic partnerships, engaging seriously on political and strategic issues, and building durable bridges between our communities. Together I am sure we can take our relations forward into new and even more productive areas.



Man injured in Adan ‘revenge’ assault Drug addict in police custody KUWAIT: Five people physically assaulted a man so badly that he suffered a permanent disability in an incident reported recently in Adan area. While the injured man was rushed to the Adan Hospital, all five were arrested after the victim told the police about the identity of the attackers. One of the suspects explained during interrogation that his old friend had offended his girlfriend after they ended their friendship but he still decided to ‘punish’ him. The main suspect and his accomplices remain in custody pending further procedures. Child molester A toyshop keeper was accused of molesting a child at a Maidan Hawally shop recently. An American woman told the local Hawally police that the Asian national touched her daughter inappropriately when she took her eyes off her momentarily. A case was filed. Businessman mugged Four men mugged a businessman inside his Nugra building and decamped with a briefcase containing KD31,000 in cash. In his statements to local police, the Syrian man explained

that he had returned home after withdrawing the money from a local bank and noticed two people exiting a Japanese-made car and following him just as he was entering the building. The two suspects reportedly forced him into an elevator, physically assaulted him and snatched away his briefcase. They then ran back to their car and sped away. Preliminary investigations indicated that the suspects probably followed their victim all the way from the bank to his home, eying the briefcase. A number of suspects with history of criminal record were summoned for investigations. Teacher accused An elementary school teacher admitted resorting to corporal punishment against a student a couple of weeks ago in a bid to inculcate discipline. When summoned by the Ahmadi Educational Directorate management, the physical education teacher explained that she used a ruler to hit the nine-year-old boy once on his palm for skipping class. The teacher was summoned after the boy’s parents submitted an official complaint regarding the incident at the Um Al-Haiman school. The teacher

was referred to the legal affairs department for violating Ministry of Education regulations which ban any resort to verbal or physical abuse against students. Drug addict A drug addict was arrested after being pulled over in Al-Na’eem by patrol officers who also recovered drugs from his car. The Bedoon (stateless) man was arrested immediately after police discovered he was driving under the influence. The officers found 20 tablets of different kinds which they were able to identify as drugs. The man was taken to the Drug Control General Department to face charges. Hawally crackdowns Fifty people were arrested in crackdowns carried out by Hawally police which targeted those violating residency and labor regulations. The arrests in Nugra and Salmiya came on Saturday and Sunday. The detainees, who included four people reported missing by their employers and 11 with expired visas, were referred to the proper authorities for further action.

Fire dept displays new technologies By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: The fire department, represented by its information system, participated in the Infoconnect exhibition at the Fair Grounds in Mishref. The Minister of Communication and State Minister of Housing, Eng Salem Al Othaima, inaugurated the

exhibition. The General Director of Fire Department, Lt Gen Yousuf AlAnsari, and his deputies Brig Khalid Al- Mikrad, Brig Khalid Al Zaid, director of Information Centre Lt Col Mohammad Al Qahtani and legal affairs director Mrs Mariam Hilal also visited the exhibition. Al-Qahtani said that the aim

behind participating in the exhibition was to exhibit all new technology issues implemented in the fire department and the electronic services provided by fire department to the citizens and expats. He said it was the eighth time that the department was participating in such an exhibition since 2006.

Kuwait continues distribution of aid for Syrians in Lebanon BEIRUT: Kuwait-based International Islamic Charitable Organization (IICO) have been distributing humanitarian aid for the Syrian refugees in Mount Lebanon in an attempt to alleviate

their suffering. The IICO has been providing shelters for the Syrian refugees in addition to food items enough for single family to consume for 20 days, as well as providing diesel for heating, said Ghassan Shahada, director of the Social Society. Speaking to KUNA, Shahada said IICO distributed aid for over 1,000 families last week. These relief supplies, he noted, were very important for some 6,000 Syrian refugees in Mount Lebanon. Shahada said Kuwait’s Najat Charitable Society also distributed

blankets and food as well as providing medical care for more than 400 refugees. The UN refugee agency said yesterday that around 223,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Meanwhile, two

Lebanese associations praised leading role by the State of Kuwait in charity domain to alleviate suffering of displaced Syrians in Lebanon. The head of Al-Aransah Charitable Association in Wadi Khaled region, northern Lebanon, Dr. Abdullah Mohammad Al-Dweik, expressed to Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) his deep appreciation for the leading role played by Kuwait in charity spheres around the globe, especially in helping the Lebanese people, and in alleviate suffering of displaced Syrians in Lebanon. Al-Dweik also praised the

courageous and honorable stance of Kuwait to stand by the defenseless Syrian people, and wished HH the Kuwaiti Amir, government and people continued safety and happiness. The head of Al-Fiker Wa Al-Hayat (thought and life) Association, Saleh Hamid expressed thanks and gratitude to Kuwait for its continued efforts to end plight of the displaced Syrians. He also said “Kuwait, namely all its institutions, did not hesitate to support legitimate causes and especially the issue of displaced peoples and to alleviate their suffering due to the injustice done to them in their own country.” Saleh also praised the efforts made by the Kuwaiti Red Crescent Society, the International Islamic Charitable Organization, Kuwait Zakat House, other organizations and charities in Kuwait. He noted that since the start of the Syrian crisis two years ago, “Kuwait initiated in rescuing, and was the first to respond for calls for help, and provide assistance to the Syrian people, many of whom are being slaughtered at home or are being displaced.” Union Relief Associations has announced recently that the Kuwaiti aid for the displaced Syrians in Lebanon reached USD 15 million, the largest aid to be given to the displaced Syrians. Many Kuwaiti associations and charities are offering aid to 223,000 displaced Syrians in Lebanon. — KUNA

Wataniya Telecom sponsors special needs baseball team KUWAIT: Driven by its social commitment to support the different communities, Wataniya Telecom is sponsoring a special needs team, called the Wataniya Team. They will be competing in the baseball competition which was launched on Jan 11 and is ongoing until April. The tournament is organized by the Kuwait Little League at the Equestrian and Hunting Club. Wataniya’s sponsorship of the team stems from its keen interest to empower people with special needs by giving them facilities and encouragement to display their sporting capabilities. Wataniya wants to offer them all the opportunities to realize their dreams. During the opening ceremony, Wataniya Telecom was awarded for their support by the US Ambassador Mathew Tueller and the Hunting and Equestrian Chairman, Sheikh Dhari AlFahad Al-Sabah. Commenting on the initiative, Fatima Dashti, Public Relations manager at Wataniya Telecom confirmed that its position as a leading mobile operator urges it to play a key social role in enhancing the community.

“By providing much needed support to different categories, in particular the handicapped communities, Wataniya aims to offer the encouragement they need to feel integrated in the community”, Dashti stated. Worth mentioning that Wataniya prioritizes its social responsibility program and deals with it is as a top priority as being responsible towards the community by heavily investing in its enhancement.

Fatima Dashti

IBS honors ABK employees KUWAIT: The Institute of Banking Studies recently held a graduation ceremony honoring 10 graduates from Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait. The ceremony was conducted in the presence of Prof. Yaqoub Al Rifai, GM, Institute of Banking Studies and Hamza Enki, AGM, Human Resources at ABK, as well as management of various local banks. The students were felicitated for completing the new, internationally accredited certification programs in Risk Management (RMC), Credit Management (CCM) and Certified Bank Branch Manager Certificate (CBBM).

Al-Rashed hails courageous UAE stance ABU DHABI: Kuwaiti National Assembly Speaker Ali Fahad AlRashed and his accompanying delegation visited on Sunday Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al- Nahyan at his palace where they exchanged cordial talks and ways to strengthen ties between the two countries. Al-Rashed praised during the meeting the courageous stances adopted by the UAE during the Iraqi invasion and occupation of Kuwait in 1990, saying that the Kuwaitis would not forget such stance. He described both countries’ ties as “historic”. He also noted the overall renaissance witnessed by the UAE under

the wise leadership of President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the government led by Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed Al Maktoum and Rulers of the Emirates. The Kuwaiti House Speaker said that this is his first visit to the UAE since he was elected as Speaker, adding that his visit aimed to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries. He added that the aim of the visit was to exchange opinions and advice and coordinate positions between the two chambers on many global issues in international and regional forums. For his part, Sheikh Nahyan

extolled the historical relations between the two countries, in addition to the role of Kuwait at all levels, both popular and governmental to contribute to the promotion and consolidation of brotherhood between the two countries. He also recalled the substantial support provided by Kuwait to the UAE for decades, especially in the areas of health, education and the continued cohesion in all circumstances not only between the two countries, but also between the GCC as a whole. Al-Rashed presented Sheikh Nahyan a commemorative gift in recognition of his great role in contributing to strengthening the bonds of friendship and cooperation between the two peoples. — KUNA

At the occasion, Enki stated, “We would like to congratulate the graduates on achieving these certifications that will provide not only a fillip to their professionalism, but also equip them with skills to provide the finest services to their clients, wherever their career paths take them.” Enki added “at Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait we care for developing and training youth competencies, as they represent the future of the banking sector, and we like to increase our investments in Human Capital, they are our biggest assets that achieve more profit for the Bank”.


Islamists torch priceless manuscripts

France fears Islamist rise in Syria Page 8

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Iran sends monkey into space Iran denies report of explosion at key nuclear site DUBAI: Iran said yesterday it had launched a live monkey into space, seeking to show off missile delivery systems that are alarming the West which fears the technology could be used to deliver a nuclear warhead. The Defence Ministry announced the launch as world powers sought to agree a date and venue with Iran for resuming talks to resolve a standoff with the West over Tehran’s nuclear programme before it degenerates into a new Middle East war. Efforts to nail down a new meeting have failed repeatedly and the powers fear Iran is exploiting the diplomatic vacuum to hone the means to produce nuclear weapons. The Islamic Republic denies seeking weapons capability and says it seeks only electricity from its uranium enrichment so it can export more of its considerable oil wealth. The powers have proposed new talks in February, a spokesman for the European Union’s foreign policy chief said yesterday, hours after Russia urged all concerned to “stop behaving like children” and commit to a meeting. Iran earlier in the day denied media reports of a major explosion at one of its most sensitive, underground enrichment plants, describing them as Western propaganda designed to influence the nuclear talks. The Defence Ministry said the space launch of the monkey coincided “with the days of ” the Prophet Mohammad’s (PBUH) birthday, which was last week, but gave no date, according to a statement carried by the official news agency IRNA. The launch was “another giant step” in space technology and biological research “which is the monopoly of a few countries”, the statement said. The small grey monkey was pictured strapped into a padded seat and being loaded into the Kavoshgar rocket dubbed “Pishgam” (Pioneer) which on state media said reached a height of more than 120 km (75 miles), IRNA said. “This shipment returned safely to Earth with the anticipated speed along with the live organism,” Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi told the semi-official Fars news agency. “The launch of Kavoshgar and its retrieval is the first step towards sending humans into space in the next phase.” There was no independent confirmation of the launch.

An image grab taken from Iran’s Al-Alam TV yesterday, shows an Iranian scientists at an unknown location holding a live monkey which the Tehran-based Arab-language channel said they sent up into space in a capsule and later retrieved intact. — AFP

Significant The West worries that long-range ballistic technology used to propel Iranian satellites into orbit could be put to use delivering nuclear warheads. Bruno Gruselle of France’s

Foundation for Strategic Research said that if the monkey launch report were true it would suggest a “quite significant” engineering feat by Iran. “If you can show that you are able to protect a vehicle of this sort from re-entry, then you can probably protect a military warhead and make it survive the high temperatures and high pressures of re-entering,” Gruselle said. The monkey launch would be similar to sending up a satellite weighing some 2,000 kg (4,400 pounds), he said. Success would suggest a capacity to deploy a surface-to-surface missile with a range of a few thousand kilometres (miles). But Michael Elleman, a missile expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies think-tank, said Iran had demonstrated “no new military or strategic capability” with the launch. “Nonetheless, Iran has an ambitious space exploration programme that includes the goal of placing a human in space in the next five or so years and a human-inhabited orbital capsule by the end of the decade,” Elleman said. “Today’s achievement is one step toward the goal, albeit a small one.” The Islamic Republic announced plans in 2011 to send a monkey into space, but that attempt was reported to have failed. Nuclear-weapons capability requires three components - enough fissile material such as highly enriched uranium, a reliable weapons device miniaturised to fit into a missile cone, and an effective delivery system, such as a ballistic missile that can grow out of a space launch programme. Iran’s efforts to develop and test ballistic missiles and build a space launch capability have contributed to Israeli calls for pre-emptive strikes on Iranian nuclear sites and billions of dollars of US ballistic missile defence spending. Manoeuvring over next talks A spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the powers had offered a February meeting to Iran, after a proposal to meet at the end of January was refused. “Iran did not accept our offer to go to Istanbul on Jan. 28 and 29 and so we have offered new dates in February. We have continued to offer dates since December. We are disappointed the Iranians have not yet agreed,” Michael Mann reporters. He said Iranian negotiators had imposed new conditions for resuming talks and that EU powers were concerned this might be a stalling tactic. The last in a sporadic series of fruitless talks was held last June. Iranian officials deny blame for the delays

India rape case teen to be tried as minor NEW DELHI: An Indian teenager accused of taking part in the Dec 16 gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student in New Delhi will be tried as a juvenile, facing a maximum of three years in prison if convicted, a special panel ruled yesterday. The ruling shocked the victim’s father, who watched the news flash across his television screen. “A sudden current ran through my body in disbelief. I can’t believe this,” the father told Reuters. “How can they declare him a minor? Do they not see what they did?” The teenager has not yet been formally charged because police were hoping he would be declared an adult so they could include him in the main trial of his five co-accused. He does not have a lawyer and his account of what happened on Dec 16 is not known. Lawyers for the five accused men said they would plead not guilty and one has accused police of torturing him, his lawyer said. The panel’s decision on the youth is likely to infuriate many people, including protesters, some police and political leaders, who have called for the age at which people can be tried as adults to be lowered to 16 from 18. A gov-

NEW DELHI: An Indian protestor holds a balloon with a slogan during a protest against last month’s gang rape and murder of a student. —AFP

ernment committee examining changes to sexual crime laws, however, last week ruled out such a move. Police allege that the 17-year-old and five men gang-raped and severely beat the student on a moving bus in the capital before dumping her and a male friend in the road. The woman was so badly injured that she died of massive organ failure in a Singapore hospital two weeks later. The case has sparked national debate about rampant crime against women, and President Pranab Mukherjee, made an unusual call in a television state-ofthe nation address on Friday for the country to “reset its moral compass”. A juvenile board, comprising a magistrate and two child welfare activists, said it accepted school records showing the juvenile, who may not be identified, as having been born on June 4, 1995. It said a bone density test to determine his age was not necessary. Police, who suspect that he is older than 17, said they could appeal the board’s ruling, although there was no immediate plan to do so. “This is wrong. We need the bone test to determine the accused real age, certificates can be forged,” the victim’s younger brother told Reuters by telephone. The teenager attended yesterday’s hearing but journalists waiting outside the building did not catch a glimpse of him. He will now stand trial before the juvenile board and if convicted will be sent to a juvenile detention centre. Across town, lawyers for his five fellow accused presented arguments for the first time yesterday in a pre-trial hearing that will determine what charges the five men will face when the case eventually goes to trial. Outside the wood-panelled courtroom dozens of policemen armed with bamboo canes or “lathis” jostled with reporters waiting to get a glimpse of the five accused. The men, wearing grey woollen caps and scarves to hide their faces, were hand-held by policemen as they were led inside. In India, all rape cases are held in closed court to protect the identity of the victim. This rule is being enforced in the New Delhi gang rape case even though the victim’s family has already said they are not opposed to her being identified. The judge hearing the case, Yogesh Khanna, has taken the additional steps of cautioning lawyers not to talk about the proceedings outside of court and warned the media not to repeat any information they glean from sources. The prosecutor had complained that defence lawyers were violating an earlier court order by briefing reporters. The scarcity of information about a case that shocked the world stands in stark contrast to the intense media coverage that preceded the start of the court proceedings. There is still simmering public outrage over police handling of the case and the slow response by the government, which was caught off guard by street protests that turned violent. Many Indians still have questions about what really happened on the night of Dec 16, what drove the women’s attackers to assault her so savagely, and how such a brutal crime could take place in an affluent and modern part of the capital. The government panel set up after the gangrape blamed police negligence for a climate of insecurity in New Delhi, known as India’s “rape capital”. — Reuters

and say Western countries squandered opportunities for meetings by waiting until after the US presidential election in November. “We have always said that we are ready to negotiate until a result is reached and we have never broken off discussions,” IRNA quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi as saying. Salehi has suggested holding the next round in Cairo but said the powers wanted another venue. He also said that Sweden, Kazakhstan and Switzerland had offered to host the talks. In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a news conference: “We are ready to meet at any location as soon as possible. We believe the essence of our talks is far more important (than the site), and we hope that common sense will prevail and we will stop behaving like little children.” Ashton is overseeing diplomatic contacts on behalf of the powers hoping to persuade Tehran to stop higher-grade uranium enrichment and accept stricter UN inspections in return for civilian nuclear cooperation and relief from UN sanctions. Iran denies Fordow blast Reuters has been unable to verify reports since Friday of an explosion early last week at the underground Fordow bunker that some Israeli and Western media said wrought heavy damage. “The false news of an explosion at Fordow is Western propaganda ahead of nuclear negotiations to influence their process and outcome,” IRNA quoted deputy Iranian nuclear energy agency chief Saeed Shamseddin Bar Broudi as saying. In late 2011 the plant at Fordow began producing uranium enriched to 20 percent fissile purity, well above the 3.5 percent level normally needed for nuclear power stations. Western governments say the highergrade enrichment marks a notable step towards weapons-grade uranium, even though it is below the 90 percent level suitable for nuclear bombs. Iran says its enhanced enrichment is to make fuel for a Tehran research reactor that produces isotopes for medical care. Diplomats in Vienna, where the UN nuclear watchdog agency is based, said yesterday they had no knowledge of any incident at Fordow but were looking into the reports. One Western diplomat said he did not believe them to be correct. The UN International Atomic Energy Agency, which regularly inspects Iranian nuclear sites including Fordow, had no immediate comment. — Reuters



France fears Islamist rise in Syria PARIS: France’s foreign minister said yesterday Syria risks falling into the hands of Islamist militant groups if supporters of the Syrian opposition do not do more to help it in a 22-month-old revolt against President Bashar Al-Assad. Addressing the opening of a conference in Paris with senior members of the Syrian National Coalition, Laurent Fabius said the meeting must focus on making the opposition politically and militarily cohesive to encourage international assistance. “Facing the collapse of a state and society, it is Islamist groups that risk gaining ground if we do not act as we should,” he said. “We cannot let a revolution that started as a peaceful and democratic protest degenerate into a conflict of militias.” Western concern over the growing strength of jihadist militants fighting

autonomously in the disorganised ranks of anti-Assad rebel forces is rising. This has hindered international aid to the moderate Syrian National Coalition opposition and may push it more into the arms of conservative Muslim backers, diplomatic sources say. The meeting, which brought together Western and Arab nations and the three vice-presidents of the coalition, aims to tackle the lack of cohesion that has led to broken promises of aid. Coalition vicepresident Riad Seif said “time is not on our side” and that the opposition no longer wanted pledges of support that would not be followed through on. “We need an interim or transitional government to provide assistance to millions of Syrians in liberated zones and to help bring the collapse of the (Assad) regime,” he said.

“From the beginning we said we should be based in Syria, but so far we haven’t received any money to run a government.” Half a billion dollars Since its formation in November, the coalition has failed to gain traction on the ground in Syria and its credibility has been undermined by its inability to secure arms and cash. Seif said the coalition lacked the financial or military means to set up within Syria and support civilians on the ground. “We are looking with our friends at how we can protect the liberated zones with defensive weapons and we are discussing how to get billions of dollars to create a budget,” he said. “But if we don’t have this budget there is no point having a government. It makes no sense.” George

Sabra, another coalition vice-president, said the coalition needed at least $500 million to launch a government. But its disunity - it failed last week to form a transitional government - has deterred the West from boosting assistance, especially sophisticated arms and ammunition insurgents are crying out for. “We also need weapons. We needed them from the first minute,” Sabra said. “At the last meeting of Friends of Syria, they recognised our rights to defend ourselves. (But) what does that mean if we cannot provide help to victims?” The insurgents have seized territory in the north and east of Syria, including several border crossings, and made some inroads into Assad’s dominance in major cities. But Assad’s air power and far superior weaponry have limited rebel advances.

France said last week there was no sign Assad was about to be overthrown, reversing previous statements that he could not hold out long, while Jordan’s King Abdullah said the authoritarian Syrian leader would consolidate his grip for now. Fabius said the Paris meeting had three objectives: to address the needs of the vulnerable Syrian population, pursue internal structuring, bring opposition fighting units of the Free Syrian Army under its political authority and prepare the post-Assad transition. However, he sidestepped the question of arming the rebels, underlining the wariness of Western countries about spreading weapons to Islamists in Syria and across the volatile region. The European Union is set to review its arms embargo on Syria at the end of February. — Reuters

French seal off Mali’s Timbuktu Islamists torch priceless manuscripts

THE HAGUE: In this photo, Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands looks on from the Golden Carriage as she leaves Noordeinde Palace for a ride to the Ridderzaal in The Hague on Prince’s Day. Dutch Queen Beatrix was expected to announce later yesterday her abdication in favour of her son, Dutch media reported. — AFP

Suicide bomber kills 11 Yemeni soldiers SANAA: A suicide bomber killed 11 Yemeni soldiers yesterday after troops backed by tanks attacked an Al-Qaeda stronghold following the collapse of talks to free three Western hostages, local officials and residents said. Tackling lawlessness in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula state, which flanks the world’s biggest oil exporter Saudi Arabia, is an international priority. The United States views Yemen as a frontline in its struggle against Al-Qaeda. A Finnish couple and an Austrian man, who were studying Arabic in Yemen, were snatched last month by tribesmen in the capital Sanaa. They were later sold to Al-Qaeda members, and transferred to the southern al-Bayda province, a Yemeni official told Reuters earlier this month. A government official said the army began its offensive in al Qaeda’s AlManaseh stronghold in Al-Bayda early yesterday after the militants rejected demands to release the hostages. Residents said they saw dozens of tanks and armoured vehicles moving at dawn towards Al-Manaseh. “A few hours later, army forces started shelling. We could hear explosions,” a man who gave his name only as Abdullah told Reuters by telephone. In an apparent reprisal for the offensive, the suicide bomber drove a car laden with explosives into an army checkpoint in Radda, a town near AlManaseh. Eleven soldiers were killed and 17 wounded, the defence ministry said. An earlier report from local officials put the death toll at eight. Militants also ambushed and killed three other soldiers near Radda in a separate attack, according to medics. No figures were immedi-

ately available on militant casualties. UN envoys fly in The kidnapping of Westerners occurs sporadically in Yemen, mostly by tribesmen seeking bargaining clout in disputes with the authorities or by Al-Qaeda militants. Washington and other Western governments regard Yemen-based AlQaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which has planned attacks on international targets including airliners, as one of the most dangerous offshoots of the global militant network founded by Osama bin Laden. There have been dozens of killings of security and military officials by suspected Al-Qaeda gunmen in the past year, suggesting AQAP remains resilient despite increased US drone strikes and an onslaught by government forces. UN Security Council envoys flew to Yemen amid tight security on Sunday to show support for a US-backed power transfer deal in danger of faltering and plunging the country further into chaos. Yemen has struggled to restore normality since President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi was elected in February 2012 following a year of protests that forced his predecessor Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down after 33 years in power. AQAP and other militant groups took advantage of the chaos in the runup to and aftermath of Saleh stepping down, seizing entire towns and areas in the south. Under the power transfer deal, Hadi is overseeing reforms for a two-year interim period to ensure a transition to democracy. Presidential and parliamentary elections are expected in 2014. —Reuters

Israel using deadly force on unarmed protesters RAMALLAH: Israel is breaking its own rules of engagement by using deadly force to disperse unarmed Palestinian protesters in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli rights group B’Tselem reported yesterday. Israeli forces have killed 56 people since 2005 in clashes with rock-throwing Palestinians, said B’Tselem, which accused the military of having “extensively and systematically violated” rules barring deadly retaliation for non-lethal assault. “The Israeli military’s standing orders explicitly state that live ammunition may not be fired at stone-throwers,” it said. In the past two weeks, Israeli forces have shot dead two Palestinians in unrest that Israeli officials said may foreshadow a third Palestinian uprising. Peace talks have been frozen since 2010 and Palestinian anger is running high against expanding Jewish settlement in the West Bank, captured along with East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Golan Heights in a 1967 war. The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) said the B’Tselem report “presents a biased narrative, relying primarily on incidents that are either old or still under investigation by the

Military Police.” “The IDF does everything in its power to ensure that the use of riot dispersal means is done in accordance with the rules of engagement,” the IDF said in a written response sent to Reuters. Of the Palestinian fatalities since 2005, six were killed by rubber-coated metal bullets and two by teargas canisters, both supposedly non-lethal weapons which were fired directly at protesters, B’Tselem said. “In practice, members of the security forces make almost routine use of these weapons in unlawful, dangerous ways, and the relevant Israeli authorities do too little to prevent the recurrence of this conduct,” the report said. The other 48 protesters killed where hit by live ammunition, according to the group. The protests come as sanctions imposed by Israel after Palestinians won de facto statehood recognition at the United Nations have crippled the Palestinian government in the West Bank and deepened economic malaise. Faced with the threat of a general strike by the government workers union, top Palestinian officials have encouraged protesters to direct their anger against Israel instead. — Reuters

GAO: French and Malian troops yesterday sealed off Timbuktu, a UNESCO World Heritage site, after fleeing Islamist rebel fighters torched several buildings in the ancient Saharan trading town, including a priceless manuscript library. Without a shot being fired to stop them, 1,000 French soldiers including paratroopers and 200 Malian troops seized the airport and surrounded the centuries-old Niger River city, looking to block the escape of Al-Qaeda-allied fighters. The retaking of Timbuktu followed the swift capture by French and Malian forces at the weekend of Gao, another major northern Malian town which had also been occupied by the alliance of Islamist militant groups since last year. A two-week intervention by France in its former Sahel colony, at the request of Mali’s government but also with wide international backing, has driven the Islamist rebel fighters northwards out of towns into the desert and mountains. A French military spokesman said the assault forces at Timbuktu were being careful to avoid combat inside the city so as not to damage cultural treasures and mosques and religious shrines in what is considered a seat of Islamic learning. But Timbuktu’s mayor, Ousmane Halle, reported that fleeing Islamist fighters had torched a South African-funded library in the city containing thousands of priceless manuscripts. “The rebels set fire to the newly-constructed Ahmed Baba Institute built by the South Africans ... this happened four days ago,” Halle Ousmane told Reuters by telephone from Bamako. He said he had received the information from his chief of communications who had travelled south from the city a day ago. Ousmane was not able to immediately say how much the concrete building had been damaged. He added the rebels also torched his office and the home of a member of parliament. The Ahmed Baba Institute, one of several libraries and collections in the city containing fragile ancient documents dating back to the 13th century, is named after a Timbuktu-born contemporary of William Shakespeare and houses more than 20,000 scholarly manuscripts. Some were stored in underground vaults. The French and Malians have faced no resistance so far at Timbuktu, but they face a tough job of combing through the labyrinth of ancient mosques and monuments and mud-brick homes between alleys to flush out any hiding Islamist fighters. “We have to be extremely careful. But in general terms, the necessary elements are in place to take control,” French army spokesman Lieutenant Thierry Burkhard said in Paris. Timbuktu member of parliament El Hadj Baba HaÔdara told Reuters in Bamako the Islamist rebels had abandoned the city. “They all fled. Before their departure they destroyed some

TIMBUKTU: In this photo, crumbling ancient Islamic manuscripts belonging to 48-year old Fatama Bocar Sambala, are shown in her mud-walled house. — AP They also applied amputations for thieves buildings, including private homes,” he said. The United States and European Union are backing and stoning of adulterers under sharia, while the French-led Mali operation as a strike against forcing women to go veiled. On Sunday, many the threat of radical Islamist jihadists using the women among the thousands of Gao residents West African state’s inhospitable Sahara desert who came out to celebrate the rebels’ expulsion as a launch pad for international attacks. They made a point of going unveiled. Other residents are helping with intelligence, airlift of troops, smoked cigarettes and played music to flout the refuelling of planes and logistics, but do not bans previously set by the Islamist rebels. “Threat of terrorism” plan to send combat troops to Mali. As the French and Malian troops push into France: Mali “being liberated” “Little by little, Mali is being liberated,” French northern Mali, African troops from a U.N.-backed Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told France 2 tel- continental intervention force expected to numevision. At Gao, more than 300 km (190 miles) ber 7,700 are being flown into the country, east of Timbuktu, jubilant residents danced to despite severe delays due to logistical problems. music in the streets on Sunday to celebrate the Outgoing African Union Chairman President liberation of this other ancient Niger River town Thomas Boni Yayi of Benin at the weekend scolded AU states for their slow response to assist from the sharia-observing rebels. A third northern town, the Tuareg seat of Mali while former colonial power France took Kidal, in Mali’s rugged and remote northeast, the lead in the military operation. Yayi put the cost of the African intervention remains in the hands of the Islamist fighters, a loose alliance that groups AQIM with Malian force, now revised upwards, at $1 billion and Islamist group Ansar Dine and AQIM splinter said up to 10 African countries may be required MUJWA. With its cultural treasures, Timbuktu to send troops. Burkina Faso, Benin, Nigeria, had previously been a destination for adventur- Senegal, Togo, Niger and Chad are providing soldiers. Burundi and other nations have pledged ous tourists and international scholars. The world was shocked by its capture on to contribute. The AU is expected to seek hundreds of milApril 1 by Tuareg desert fighters whose separatist rebellion was later hijacked by Islamist rad- lions of dollars in logistical support and funding icals who imposed severe sharia law. Provoking for the African Mali force at a conference of international outrage, the Islamist militants who donors to be held in Addis Ababa today. Yayi follow a more conservative Salafist branch of also urged other NATO members and Asian Islam destroyed dozens of ancient shrines in countries to follow France’s lead and send troops Timbuktu sacred to moderate Sufi Moslems, to Mali. “We have to free the Sahel belt from the threat of terrorism,” he said. — Reuters condemning them as idolatrous and un-Islamic.

Refugees again, Palestinians flee Syria’s war EIN EL-HILWEH: When Syrian warplanes bombed a Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus last December, Umm Sami rounded up her three sons, shut the windows and locked the doors so they could neither hear nor heed the call to arms by rebels and pro-government gunmen fighting in the streets. Then she told her sons they were leaving their home in the Yarmouk refugee camp in the Syrian capital for neighboring Lebanon, where they would wait out Syria’s civil war. “There will be no more martyrs for Palestine in my family,” Umm Sami said, who only gave her nickname for fear of reprisals. “This war is a Syrian problem.” Now safe in Lebanon, the 45-year-old widow and her family have joined thousands of other Palestinian refugees who have found shelter in the country since the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad erupted nearly two years ago. The conflict has left more than 2 million people internally displaced, and pushed 650,000 more to seek refuge abroad. Umm Sami’s resolve to keep her sons out of the fight in Syria ties into a deep-rooted sentiment among a generation of Palestinian refugees who say they are fed up with being dragged into the

region’s conflicts on a promise of getting their own state. The Palestinian exodus from Syria has also revived a decades-old debate over the refugees’ right of return to their homes that are now in Israel. That has added another layer of complexity to a conflict already loaded with sectarian and ethnic overtones that have spilled over into neighboring countries, raising fears of a regional war. Palestinians living in Arab countries - including the half-million refugees in Syria - are descendants of the hundreds of thousands who fled or were driven from their homes in the war that followed Israel’s creation in 1948. Having scattered across the Middle East since then, Palestinians consistently have found themselves in the middle of the region’s conflicts. After the 2003 US.-led invasion of Iraq toppled Saddam Hussein, hundreds of Palestinians were killed as the Sunni and Shiite militias fought for dominance of the country. Iraq’s Shiite majority saw Saddam, who like most Palestinians was a Sunni Muslim, as a patron of the stateless Palestinians, granting them rights the dictator denied his own citizens because they were of the rival sect. About 1,000 Palestinians fled the 2004-07 sectarian bloodshed in

Baghdad, living in a refugee camp near the Syrian border before being resettled in third countries. During Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war, Palestinians played a major role, fighting alongside Muslim militiamen against Christian forces. Umm Sami, who was born in a refugee camp in Lebanon before the war, was twice forced to flee the fighting, most notably in 1982 when her family escaped the Sabra and Chatilla camps during the notorious massacre of Palestinians there by

Christian militias. She would eventually bury her father, two brothers and her husband - all fallen fighters - before leaving for Syria and settling with her four sons in Yarmouk, one of nine Palestinian camps in Syria. Her youngest son died in a traffic accident while serving in the Palestinian unit of the Syrian army just weeks before the anti-Assad revolt started in March 2011. None of her other sons joined the revolution, she said, because “they don’t want to die.” — AP

SIDON: A Palestinian woman who fled her home in the Yarmouk camp for Palestinian refugees in south Damascus, feeds her baby inside a school, at the Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp. — AP



150,000 people displaced as Mozambique floods spread Floods spur roof births, ruin and diarrhoea

ROBBINSDALE: Motorists slow down past an overturned vehicle (left) at the intersection of Highway 100 and Highway 81 in Minn. —AP

History, culture, humor in latest UK citizenship test LONDON: What does it mean to be British? Monarchs, Margaret Thatcher and Monty Python are all important parts of the nation’s heritage, according to a new guide for immigrants introduced yesterday. The government is revising the “Life in the UK” handbook and test taken by those seeking to become British citizens or settle here permanently. While the previous version - created under the former Labour government - included some practical questions about daily life, the emphasis is now firmly on British history and culture. There are questions on sports, music and historical figures from William Shakespeare to Winston Churchill. The Conservative-led government says the new handbook also features “an exploration of Britons’ unique sense of humor and satire,” alongside an explanation of aspects of cultural life including the national love of gardening, the novels of Jane Austen and the musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Immigration Minister Mark Harper said the book “focuses on values and principles at the heart of being British.” But Don Flynn, director of the Migrants’ Rights Network, likened it to a private school entry exam, “which requires complete

identification with elite views of British history and culture.” The handbook asks migrants to learn a potted history of Britain from the Stone Age to the present day. Among its facts: Britain has been an island nation for some 10,000 years, since the last ice age ended and left a watery English Channel between England and the European mainland. Despite its name, the Hundred Years War against France lasted 116 years. King Henry VIII “was most famous for breaking away from the Church of Rome and marrying six times.” No monarch has set foot in the House of Commons since 1642, when Charles I tried unsuccessfully to arrest five lawmakers. After a civil war, he was beheaded. Britain’s first coffee house was the Hindoostane Coffee House in London, opened by Bengal-born Sake Dean Mahomet in 1810. The greatest Briton of all time, according to a 2002 public vote, was Churchill, the prime minister who led the country to victory in World War II. “Two well-known pop music groups” of the 1960s were The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. British inventions of the 20th century include television, radar, the cash-dispensing bank machine and the World Wide Web. —AP

Heroic British saves baby from icy water LONDON: A British man spoke yesterday of how he plunged into freezing waters to rescue a six-monthold baby whose pushchair was blown off a harbour by a gust of wind. George Reeder, a 63-year-old official at Watchet Harbour in Somerset, southwest England, rushed to the water’s edge when he heard screams on Sunday and saw, to his horror, the baby’s upturned buggy floating away. He dived in and pulled the pushchair to safety with the help of local fishermen, before a passer-by gave CPR to the little boy. “I could hear screaming,” said Reeder, who has worked at the harbour for 11 years. “I assumed somebody’s dog had gone into the water, so I went cycling over.” He added: “The mother was there and she said, ‘My baby has gone in the water,’ so I went to the edge and I could see

the pushchair upside down, floating away. I just jumped in and pulled the pushchair back over to the edge of the quay.” Reeder said it was “amazing” that the baby had survived after being in the freezing water for several minutes. “You could see his little mouth opening and taking in a breath, and that’s when I thought-it’s ok, he’s going to be ok.” The harbour master said the baby’s grandfather had told him that the little boy was now out of intensive care. He laughed at suggestions he was a “hero”, telling ITV television: “I’m just the fella that jumped in. I am just glad I could help.” A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said: “It is believed a gust of wind blew the buggy with the child in it into the water. “The condition of the baby is believed to be no longer life-threatening.” —AFP

MAPUTO: Intense flooding in Mozambique has displaced at least 150,000 people, the United Nations said yesterday, with the figure expected to rise further as fresh rains spread flooding northward. Heavy rains and overflowing rivers have already killed at least 40 people in the southeastern African country, which is experiencing its worst floods in more than a decade. The south of Mozambique has been most badly hit, with the province of Gaza bearing the brunt of the flood surge. There 150,000 residents have been forced to flee to higher ground, UN spokeswoman Patricia Nakell told AFP. Emergency teams are still reaching isolated areas, adding to the number of victims. “People in high-risk areas are still being rescued,” Rita Almeida, a spokeswoman for Mozambique’s National Disaster Management Institute, told AFP. Boats, helicopters and trucks have been deployed to scoop up survivors and taken them to safe camps. In the town of Chokwe the scene was one of total devastation. Palm fronds poking through grimy mudbrown water, offer a clue of what this terrain once looked like. Nearby, children and families take refuge on roof tops scattered amid the few belongings they could salvage. At least two women gave birth on rooftops after being marooned by the floodwaters. Many of those stranded have little more than thin cotton sheets to shelter from the elements, which have once again destroyed their town. Chokwe was virtually rebuilt after the devastating floods 13 years ago. With water levels on the Limpopo river touching higher levels than those seen in 2000, when 800 people were killed, no one yet knows what the final human toll will be. Aid agencies and government emergency services have set up scores of temporary camps in the area where flood victims are being fed and housed in tents. But with more heavy rainfall forecast in coming days, they are preparing to fight the crisis on multiple fronts. While water levels on the Limpopo river stabilise, the deluge is expected to swell the Zambezi river basin, spreading the disaster to northern and central Mozambique. “We have more rain predicted for Zambezia province and in the north of Sofala where it is already raining,” Almeida said. Sofala province is home to Beira, Mozambique’s second city, which lies around 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) along the coast from the capital Maputo. “We are asking people to move out of houses that could be destroyed by rain,” Almeida said. Already, 160 millimetres (6 inches) has fallen in Sofala over the past two days. “Over the next five days between 75 and 250 millimetres of rain is predicted,” meteorologist Sergio Buque from Mozambique’s national weather office said. Humanitarian agencies are already battling to respond to the scale of the crisis. “The main needs are tents and clean water, but they basically need everything,” said Katherine Mueller, a spokeswoman for the International Federation of

GUIJA, Mozambique: Rofino, a baby born on the roof of his mother’s house while flood waters were raging is held by his mother, on January 27, 2013 in Guija where they are living without proper access to water and reliant on airlift for food. —AFP Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. “There will be a huge need of sanitation, mosquito nets, shelter, kitchen sets and blankets as families begin returning home in the coming weeks.” The UN is coordinating relief efforts with non-governmental organisations and the Mozambique government’s disaster management agency. After the deadly floods in 2000, the impoverished country put in

place extensive disaster management systems. But the scale of the recent flooding, which has also affected neighbouring Zimbabwe and South Africa, has caught many off-guard. On Friday, UNICEF pegged the total funding needed for humanitarian efforts at $15 million, but anticipated that number would rise dramatically as the situation is better assessed throughout the next few days. —AFP

S African kings come with $73m price tag JOHANNESBURG: South Africa’s 10 kings and thousands of aristocrats cost the state a regal $73 million (650 million rand, 54 million euros) last year, local media reported yesterday. The price tag was spent on salaries and benefits for 10 kings, 829 senior traditional leaders and 5,311 local chiefs, Beeld newspaper reported. Each king earned a yearly salary of over $100,000, while provinces allocated additional benefits. Zulu King Goodwill Zwelethini received $6.6 million from the eastern KwaZuluNatal province, and asked an extra $2 million to build a palace for the youngest of his six wives.

He has 27 children. Other provinces paid for luxury vehicles, medical aid and household costs. The country’s royalty feature little in public affairs. They don’t fulfil formal political roles, though some have served in government. Mandla Mandela, grandson of Nobel Peace Laureate and struggle-hero Nelson Mandela, is a chief in the Thembu clan and member of parliament for the ruling African National Congress (ANC). South Africa is one of the world’s most unequal societies. Over half its 52 million people live below the poverty line, according to official figures. —AFP



What will Michelle Obama do with four more years? WASHINGTON: Michelle Obama has a new look, both in person and online, and with the president’s re-election, she has four more years as first lady, too. That’s got many people wondering: What will she do with them? Take on a new cause? Travel more? Trace the path of another first lady and keep the Obama political brand alive by running for office? The answers are to be determined. The first lady is trying to figure out what comes next for this self-described “mom in chief” who also is a champion of healthier eating, an advocate for military families, a fitness buff and the best-selling author of a book about her White House garden. For certain, she’ll press ahead with her well-publicized efforts to reduce childhood obesity and rally the country around its service members. “But beyond that, the first lady is exploring ways that she can make a real difference for Americans, not just for these next four years, but for years to come,” said Kristina Schake, Mrs Obama’s communications director. Here are five areas to watch. New issues Will she take on a new cause? It’s possible. When Parade magazine asked last year whether she’d take up any new issues, Mrs Obama identified women’s health issues. “How do we strengthen families and make them healthier, an issue not just in America but around the world,” she said. Her marquee causes - the “Let’s Move” campaign against childhood obesity and the “Joining Forces” effort to help military families - took a back seat last fall as she campaigned doggedly for President Barack Obama’s re-election. Look for her to begin publicizing those efforts anew. Do not expect to see Mrs Obama push more contentious issues such as gun control or immigration, both secondterm priorities for the president. Her public approval rating was 73 percent in a December poll by CNN and she’d like to keep it there. Some feminists remain unhappy that the Ivy League-educated lawyer hasn’t used her position to champion what they view as more substantive issues. Robert Watson, an American studies professor at Lynn University, said he hopes Mrs Obama will use her

popularity to shift away from the “velvet-glove” issues first ladies typically embrace and say, “I’m swinging for the fence.” Malia and Sasha Obama’s daughters are older and will be in full teenage mode by the summer of 2014. Malia is already there at 14; sister Sasha is 11. Both the president and first lady sometimes talk about the girls’ busy lives and how they don’t want to spend much time with their parents anymore. Could having older, more independent children free Mrs Obama to pursue other interests? Some first lady watchers say that’s unlikely. After all, the teenage years are often full of angst about dating, proms, learning how to drive, going to college and so on. “Michelle has made such a public statement about being the ‘mom in chief’ that it’s hard to see her saying, ‘Go ahead girls, here’s the limo,’” Watson said. Malia will graduate from high school during Obama’s final year in office, in 2016, and probably trade the White House for a college dorm. She and her parents will have to navigate the college application process and campus tours. Sasha will be in high school. Travel Presidents and first ladies often step up the pace of international travel in the second term. But it seems unlikely that Obama could make such a move just yet, with the US public still so concerned about the economy, unemployment and government spending. One option would be to send Mrs Obama abroad in his place. The first lady is popular overseas and has been well-received outside the US, including in India, where she accompanied the president in 2010, and in Mexico, also in 2010, and in South Africa and Botswana in 2011, the only countries she has visited alone as first lady. She and Vice President Joe Biden’s wife, Jill, traveled together to Haiti after the massive earthquake there in January 2010. Mrs Obama also went to Spain in the summer of 2010 on a personal trip with friends and daughter Sasha, but her stay at a luxury resort on the Costa

del Sol wasn’t well-received back home, raising questions about the cost and wisdom of taking such a trip during tough economic times. Laura Bush pursued a grueling foreign travel schedule during George W Bush’s second term. She visited 77 countries in eight years as first lady, including with the president, but 67 of those trips came dur-

NEW ORLEANS: In this file photo, first lady Michelle Obama runs a 40-yard sprint as she participates in the Let’s Move! Campaign and the NFL’s Play 60 Campaign festivities with area youth, to promote exercise and fight childhood obesity. — AP

ing the second term, including solo stops in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, according to Anita McBride, her then-chief of staff who runs American University’s first ladies program. Hillary Rodham Clinton also traveled abroad extensively during Bill Clinton’s second term.

Run for public office Will she or won’t she? Despite Mrs Obama’s many denials of interest in seeking elected office herself, the question keeps getting asked. A recent survey found her to be more popular than Mark Kirk, the Republican senator from her home state of Illinois, in a hypothetical matchup. “I have no interest in politics. Never have, never will,” the first lady said last year on ABC’s “The View.” But even those who at one time say “never ” can later change their minds. Hillary Clinton gave the same answer in 1995 when asked if she’d ever run for public office, says Myra Gutin, who studies first ladies at Rider University. But five years later, as her husband’s presidency was ending, there was Clinton campaigning across New York for a Senate seat. She won, used her time in the Senate as a springboard for her 2008 presidential campaign but lost the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama. She became his secretary of state but is departing soon amid feverish speculation that she will run for president in 2016. Mrs Obama will be young - 53 years old - when her husband leaves office in January 2017, and will have a range of options ahead of her. Friends say she has always believed there are ways to serve the country without running for office. Personal style Look for the first lady to continue to be a fashion trendsetter. Everything from her hair to her clothes is scrutinized, with some clothing pieces selling out quickly after she’s seen wearing them. Her new bangs became the talk of this town immediately after she went public with them on her 49th birthday, a few days before the president began his second term. Even the president said his wife’s haircut was “the most significant event” of inaugural weekend and gave his approval. Mrs Obama also won largely positive reviews for her inaugural wardrobe: Reed Krakoff and Thom Browne by day, and Michael Kors and Jason Wu by night. Wu designed her red chiffon and velvet ball gown. He also designed the white ball gown she wore four years ago. — AP

Clinton can’t predict future, as 2016 looms Obama praises Clinton as she prepares to leave

OOI: Japanese rifle enthusiast Yasuharu Watabe displays his gun at a shooting range in Ooi, near the foot of Mount Fuji. — AP

Around world, gun rules, and results, vary wildly


fter a tragedy like the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the statistic is always trotted out. Compared to just about anywhere else with a stable, developed government - and many countries without even that - the more than 11,000 gun-related killings each year in the United States are simply off the charts. To be sure, there are nations that are worse. But others see fewer gun homicide deaths in one year than the 27 people killed Dec 14 in Newtown, Connecticut. As Americans debate gun laws, people on both sides point to the experiences of other countries to support their arguments. Here’s a look at two success stories - with two very different ways of thinking about gun ownership - and one cautionary tale. JAPAN - THE NANNY STATE Gunfire rings through the hills at a shooting range at the foot of Mount Fuji. There are few other places in Japan where you’ll hear it. In this country, guns are few and far between. And so is gun violence. Guns were used in only seven murders in Japan - a nation of about 130 million - in all of 2011, the most recent year for official statistics. According to police, more people nine - were murdered with scissors. Though its gun ownership rates are tiny compared to the United States, Japan has more than 120,000 registered gun owners and more than 400,000 registered firearms. So why is there so little gun violence? “We have a very different way of looking at guns in Japan than people in the United States,” said Tsutomu Uchida, who runs the Kanagawa Ohi Shooting Range, an Olympicstyle training center for rifle enthusiasts. “In the US, people believe they have a right to own a gun. In Japan, we don’t have that right. So our point of departure is completely different.” Treating gun ownership as a privilege and not a right leads to some important policy differences. First, anyone who wants to get a gun must demonstrate a valid reason why they should be allowed to do so. Under longstanding Japanese policy, there is no good reason why any civilian should have a handgun, so - aside from a few dozen accomplished competitive shooters they are completely banned. Virtually all handgun-related crime is attributable to gangsters, who obtain them on the black market. But such crime is extremely rare and when it does occur, police crack down hard on whatever gang is involved, so even gangsters see it as a last-ditch option. Rifle ownership is allowed for the general public, but tightly controlled. Applicants first must go to their local police station and declare their intent. After a lecture and a written test comes range training, then a background check. Police likely will even talk to the applicant’s neighbors to see if he or she is known to have a temper, financial troubles or an unstable household. A doctor must sign a form saying the applicant has not been institutionalized and is not epileptic, depressed, schizophrenic, alcoholic or addicted to drugs. Gun owners must tell

the police where in the home the gun will be stored. It must be kept under lock and key, must be kept separate from ammunition, and preferably chained down. It’s legal to transport a gun in the trunk of a car to get to one of the country’s few shooting ranges, but if the driver steps away from the vehicle and gets caught, that’s a violation. Uchida said Japan’s gun laws are frustrating, overly complicated and can seem capricious. “It would be great if we had an organization like the National Rifle Association to stand up for us,” he said, though he acknowledged that there is no significant movement in Japan to ease gun restrictions. Even so, dedicated shooters like Uchida say they do not want the kind of freedoms Americans have and do not think Japan’s system would work in the United States, citing the tendency for Japanese to defer to authority and place a very high premium on an ordered, low-crime society. “We have our way of doing things, and Americans have theirs,” said Yasuharu Watabe, 67, who has owned a gun for 40 years. “But there need to be regulations. Put a gun in the wrong hands, and it’s a weapon.” SWITZERLAND - GUNS AND PEACE Gun-rights advocates in the United States often cite Switzerland as an example of relatively liberal regulation going hand-in-hand with low gun crime. The country’s 8 million people own about 2.3 million firearms. But firearms were used in just 24 Swiss homicides in 2009, a rate of about 0.3 per 100,000 inhabitants. The US rate that year was about 11 times higher. Unlike in the United States, where guns are used in the majority of murders, in Switzerland only a quarter of murders involve firearms. The most highprofile case in recent years occurred when a disgruntled petitioner shot dead 14 people at a city council meeting in 2001.Experts say Switzerland’s low gun-crime figures are influenced by the fact that most firearms are military rifles issued to men when they join the country’s conscript army . Criminologist Martin Killias at the University of Zurich notes that as Switzerland cut the size of its army in recent decades, gun violence - particularly domestic killings and suicides - dropped too. The key issue is how many people have access to a weapon, not the total number of weapons owned in a country, Killias said. “Switzerland’s criminals, for example, aren’t very well armed compared with street criminals in the United States.” Critics of gun ownership in Switzerland have pointed out that the country’s rate of firearms suicide is higher than anywhere else in Europe. But efforts to tighten the law further and force conscripts to give their guns back after training have failed at the ballot box - most recently in a 2012 referendum. Gun enthusiasts - many of whom are members of Switzerland’s 3,000 gun clubs argue that limiting the right to bear arms in the home of William Tell would destroy a cherished tradition and undermine the militia army’s preparedness against possible invasion. —AP

WASHINGTON: With only days left until she steps down as America’s top diplomat, Hillary Clinton left the door open Sunday to a possible future run in the 2016 presidential elections. And, in a rare joint interview with CBS, she appeared to win the endorsement of none other than President Barack Obama, the man who beat her in the 2008 race to be the Democratic Party’s nominee. For months, 65-year-old Clinton has insisted that after more than two decades in the political spotlight she intends to step back into the shadows, catch up on some rest and enjoy some downtime for a change. But with her popularity riding high-at around 65 percent according to a Washington Post-ABC poll last week-many believe she will bounce back to take another shot at being the nation’s first woman president in 2016. “I am still secretary of state. So I’m out of politics,” Clinton told CBS television’s “60 Minutes” carefully, leaving herself the option of reviving her career once she leaves government. A woman who has devoted much of her life to public service, as first lady and as a New York senator, she stressed she still cared “deeply about what’s going to happen for our country in the future.” Clinton said neither Obama nor “I can make predictions about what’s going to happen tomorrow or the next year,” in comments bound to rekindle speculation that she could be preparing a 2016 run. “What we’ve tried to do over the last four years is get up every day, have a clear eyed view of what’s going on in the world. And I’m really proud of where we are,” she added. Obama did nothing to dampen speculation, heaping praise on Clinton and saying he believed she “will go down as one of the finest secretaries of state we’ve had.” “It has been a great collaboration over the last four years. I’m going to miss her,” he added, saying he wished she was staying on. “I want the country to appreciate just what an extraordinary role she’s played during the course of my administration and a lot of the successes we’ve had internationally because of her hard work,” Obama added. The joint sit-down inter-

WASHINGTON: Photo shows US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. — AFP view, which was filmed at the White House, was hole together,” he said. He told CBS he had asked apparently Obama’s idea, and some observers Clinton from the start of her tenure in 2009 to go saw it as an early endorsement should she out and represent America abroad so he could focus on dealing with the economic crisis facing choose to run for president in 2016. Obama will have to stand down after serving the nation. But he dismissed criticism the United the statutory maximum of two terms, but his States had become reluctant to take a lead in endorsement is likely to give any candidate a big the more complicated issues of the day, such as boost. Often the vice president becomes the Syria, arguing the late Libyan dictator Muammar natural choice as the incumbent party’s presi- Gaddafi probably would not agree with that dential nominee. It is not clear yet if Vice assessment. “We do nobody a service when we leap President Joe Biden will make a tilt for the White House, but he will be 73 years old come 2016. before we look. Where we... take on things withObama hailed Clinton for having been one of his out having thought through all the conse“most important advisors,” saying she had estab- quences of it,” Obama said. “Our job is to, number one, look after lished “a standard in terms of professionalism and teamwork in our cabinet, in our foreign poli- America’s security and national interest. But number two, find where are those opportunicy making.” Their relationship had evolved into a friend- ties-where our intervention, our engagement ship, with “a sense of trust and being in the fox- can really make a difference.” — AFP

Brazil buries first inferno victims SANTA MARIA: Brazilian police arrested yesterday the owner of the nightclub where 231 party-goers perished in a blaze and two musicians who starred in an ill-fated pyrotechnic show. Authorities announced the arrests as Brazil began three days of mourning following Sunday’s tragedy, which forced the cancellation of an event to mark the run up to the country’s hosting of the football World Cup. In addition to the arrests, a warrant was issued for another owner of the Kiss club, police official Michele Vimmermann said, as distraught relatives laid wreaths outside the venue in the southern city of Santa Maria. Vimmermann said those in custody were nightclub co-owner Elissandro Sphor and two members of the Gurizada Fandangueira band. The fire broke out at around 2:00 am (0400 GMT) when the club was hosting a university party. Described as the country’s second deadliest, the inferno allegedly erupted during the group’s performance, with some survivors saying its lead singer lit a firework that could have triggered the inferno. Allegations also surfaced that the club lacked the necessary emergency exits, that at least one fire extinguisher did not work and, according to firefighters, that its safety license had expired in August.

But the club insisted in a statement that everything had been in order. In comments to the media, a band member also ruled out responsibility. As friends and family members bid farewell to their loved ones, officials revised the death toll from 233 to 231 and said at least 100 others remained hospitalized, 80 of them in serious condition. As dawn broke, collective wakes for 24 of the dead were held at the town’s sports center, followed by the first funerals in Santa Maria-a college town and the surrounding district, home to many of the city’s students. As a somber silence hung over the gym, the family of Luis Dias Oliveira draped a flag over his coffin, their eyes swollen and red from crying. In one of dozens of urns lined up next to each other, were the ashes of Joao Carlos Barellos da Silva who ran a website covering the parties in the club. His lifeless body was found in a bathroom. “He was a wonderful son. I have never felt such pain,” said his mother, Gelsa Ina Barcelos. Like Da Silva, about 180 people perished in the bathrooms, suffocating amid the chaos, said military police captain Edi Paulo Garcia. At a cemetery in Santa Maria, Juliana was in a state of desperate disbelief as she attended the bur-

ial of her brother, Heitor Oliveira. “Why? Why?” she asked during his funeral procession. “Quiet Juliana, he has to go,” said her visibly exhausted mother. “Courage.” Meanwhile, some of those who made it through recalled a night of mayhem. Amid a black cloud of toxic smoke, panicking survivors trampled each other in scenes reminiscent of a “horror movie,” 21-year-old Kelly Rebello de Silva told AFP. The entrance to the club was blocked off yesterday and guarded by two policemen. “It’s very sad, I lost 13, 14 classmates,” 22-year-old Felipe said as he and others stood nearby. The deaths sent shock waves through Brazil-which is due to host the 2014 World Cup-and President Dilma Rousseff cut short a trip to Chile to rush to the scene. In the wake of the disaster, the authorities called off an event dubbed “500 Days until the World Cup,” planned for yesterday in the federal capital Brasilia. The town of Santa Maria lies west of Porto Alegre, one of the World Cup host cities. Argentina suffered a similar tragedy in 2004 when a fire at a Buenos Aires nightclub killed 194 people and Argentine health officials have sent Brazil available reserves of human skin for future transplants to burn victims. The inferno is Brazil’s second worst. A fire at a circus in Niteroi in 1961 left 503 people dead. — AFP



3 dead, dramatic rooftop rescues in Australia floods ‘Imminent danger of people being killed, drowned’

DHAKA: A Bangladeshi bystander uses a bucket to try and put out a fire on a police car allegedly set fire to by Jamaat-e-Islami members yesterday. — AFP

Scores hurt as Islamists take to Bangladesh streets over tribunal DHAKA: At least 50 people including policemen were injured in Bangladesh yesterday as Islamist activists protested against the prosecution of their leaders on charges stemming from a war of independence 40 years ago, police and witnesses said. Protesters set off crude explosives and threw bricks at police who tried to disperse them with teargas, batons and some shots in the air, witnesses said. ìThe Islamists vandalised dozens of vehicles and set fire to two buses in Motijheel commercial area and other places in the city,î a police officer said. Islamist party spokesman were not available for comment. Police detained about 20 activists, reporters on the scene said, and the disturbances disrupted traffic on city-centre roads. Similar protests broke out in the northern town of Rajshahi, Chittagong in the southeast and several other towns across the country. Bangladesh became part of Pakistan at the end of British rule in 1947 but it broke away from Pakistan in 1971 after a war between Bangladeshi nationalists, who were backed by India, and Pakistani forces. Some factions in Bangladesh opposed the break with Pakistan. A Bangladeshi war crimes tribunal began work in mid-2011 to investigate some of the violence during the nine-month war when up to three million people were killed and thousands of women were raped. Last week, the tribunal reached its first verdict, sentencing a former member of the Jamaat-e-Islami party and a popular Islamic preacher, Abul Kalam Azad, to death in absentia. Azad has been missing since April last

year but the government says it is trying to find him. Azad was charged with collaborating with Pakistani forces in the murder of Hindus, a minority in the majorityMuslim state. In one case, he was accused of killing at least 12 Hindus while shooting indiscriminately along with Pakistani soldiers. Jamaat has been accused of helping the Pakistani army in acts of violence, which it denies. Another 11 people, nine of them Jamaat leaders, are facing trial. ìTried and punishedî In Dhaka, the protesters said the trials were politically motivated and should be stopped, witnesses said. In Rajshahi, protesters chanted ìwe shall avenge the harassment of our leadersî, said an official in the town. Human Rights Watch has said the law under which the accused were being tried fell short of international standards of due process. It cited defence lawyers, witnesses and investigators as saying they had been threatened during the trial. The ruling party of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who set up the tribunal, has denied the accusations of bias. Mohammad Nasim, a senior leader of Hasinaís Awami League party and a former home minister, brushed off the protestersí calls for the tribunal to stop and said those responsible for abuses during the independence war had to face justice. ìThey wonít be able to stop it through acts of violence and lawlessness,î Nasim said. Hasina has also said those trying to derail the work of the tribunal would not succeed. ìMost of the Bangladeshi people want the war criminals tried and punished,î Hasina said on Sunday. — Reuters

Australian radio network dumps royal hoax show SYDNEY: An Australian radio show at the centre of a hoax call controversy involving Britain’s Prince William and his pregnant wife Catherine has been taken off air permanently, the network said yesterday. Two DJs were sidelined by the Austereo network after making the prank call to the London hospital treating the duchess of Cambridge, which resulted in details of her recovery from morning sickness being revealed on air. The Indian-born nurse who transferred the call to Kate Middleton’s ward, Jacintha Saldanha, was found dead three days later, triggering a massive backlash against

Austereo and hosts Mel Greig and Michael Christian. The pair received death threats over the call, in which they posed as Queen Elizabeth II and William’s father Prince Charles. They were taken off air and their show “Hot 30” was suspended. Austereo confirmed that it was launching a new programme called “The Bump” later yesterday to take its place permanently. But an Austereo spokeswoman told AFP: “Mel and MC are still employed and on leave.” Austereo chief executive Rhys Holleran said the network remained in contact with the two hosts. — AFP

This file photo received from Channel Nine Network news discussion show “A Current Affair” shows Sydney radio station 2Day FM presenters Michael Christian (left) and Mel Greig being interviewed by Tracy Grimshaw (not seen). — AFP

BRISBANE: Helicopters plucked dozens of stranded Australians to safety in dramatic rooftop rescues yesterday as severe floods swept the northeast, killing three people and inundating thousands of homes. The body of one man carried off by rising waters was found in the Queensland state capital Brisbane and another further north at Gympie, following the earlier discovery of an elderly man who died near the city of Bundaberg. A pregnant woman and her three-year-old son were hospitalised after a large tree fell on them as they were walking yesterday morning in Brisbane. They were reported to have head injuries, with the child in critical condition. Queensland Premier Campbell Newman announced that an acute emergency was unfolding in Bundaberg, home to about 50,000 people some 360 kilometres (220 miles) north of Brisbane, with people scrambling to get out as the river hit a record peak. One family zipped their infant son into a waterproof bag to be winched to safety by helicopter as floods surrounded their car on Sunday at Biloela, west of Bundaberg, with the 14-month-old too small for the airlift harness. Newman said authorities were now in “uncharted territory”, with debris-laden floodwaters roaring through the town at such speeds that water rescues were no longer viable. There were fears homes could be ripped from foundations and police issued a mandatory evacuation order, warning there was an “imminent danger of people being killed and drowned”. Some 60 patients at the local hospital were shifted to upper floors, with more than 2,000 houses flooded and “many thousands” of residents affected. Newman said a “significant number” of people were soon to be trapped indoors. “We are at a point where we’ve never seen floodwaters like this before,” he told reporters. “We’re very concerned that the velocity of the water and the rise in water levels means that literally houses... could be swept away. This is a ver y real prospect.” Fourteen helicopters, including two army Black Hawks, would fly rescue missions until nightfall and Newman said the government

Indian hardliner Modi wins political backing NEW DELHI: Hardline Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi won crucial backing yesterday to run for Indian prime minister, boosting his campaign to lead the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party into elections in 2014. Modi, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader from the state of Gujarat which was tarnished by religious riots on his watch in 2002, is widely seen as pushing to be his party’s candidate. Yashwant Sinha, who held the finance and foreign portfolios during the BJP’s national five-year rule until 2004, gave his vote of approval a day after Modi met the party’s newly-elected president Rajnath Singh behind closed doors. “Wherever I have visited, ordinary people as well as party workers have expressed the demand that the BJP should put up Modi as its prime ministerial candidate,” Sinha told reporters. “I too have come to the conclusion that if the BJP makes Modi its official candidate for the post, then the party will greatly benefit,” he said. The BJP-the main opposition party in parliament-is scouting around for a votewinning candidate to take on the ruling Congress party, which has been weakened by slowing economic growth and corruption scandals. Sinha’s comments came just days after a poll suggested Congress’s likely prime ministerial candidate Rahul Gandhi was less popular than Modi. Gandhi, the scion of the Gandhi political dynasty, is widely expected to lead Congress into the polls after being elevated to the post of party vice-president earlier this month. Modi came to power in 2001 in Gujarat. The following year, the western Indian state was rocked by some of India’s worst religious riots since independence in 1947. Some 2,000 people were killed in clashes between Hindus and Muslims, most of them Muslims. One of Modi’s former ministers was jailed for life for instigating the killing, but all investigations have cleared Modi of personal responsibility. — AFP

was scrambling to find extra aircraft. “We’ve got to pull all stops out to do this before it gets dark,” he said. Thousands have evacuated their homes across Queensland and neighbouring New South Wales with widespread flood warnings in the southern path of ex-tropical cyclone Oswald. Pounding whipped up huge ocean froth on the Gold and Sunshine Coast regions, with foam up to one metre deep

yourself safe,” said Gillard. “We have seen three fatalities and... we have got grave concerns for a number of others.” Floodwaters were rising in Brisbane, home to some two million people, though Newman said the Brisbane River was expected to peak seven metres lower than in 2011, when flooding brought the city to a standstill for several days. Rural towns were isolated by floodwaters in neighbouring New South

GOLD COAST: Floodwaters race across the Oxenford-Tamborine road on Australia’s Gold Coast yesterday as severe floods swept through two states. — AFP in some areas of the shore. Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the “wild weather had broken a lot of hearts”, with some Queensland residents experiencing their third flood in two years, including the devastating 2011 inundation which killed 35 people. “As this weather moves into New South Wales can I reiterate to everyone, it is very important you keep

Wales state, where hundreds of millimetres of rain and strong winds were expected in the coming hours, including in Sydney. Cyclones and floods are common in Australia’s northeast during the warmer summer months. A series of huge storms wreaked havoc across Queensland in early 2011, devastating large agricultural districts and major coal mines. — AFP

India-Pakistan bus, trade resume as tensions ebb SRINAGAR: A cross-border bus service between India and Pakistan, suspended along with trade after deadly army clashes earlier this month, resumed yesterday in a sign of easing tension between the neighbours. Officials said 64 passengers from Pakistan crossed the de facto border in Kashmir into India while 84 went in the other direction on the bus service from Poonch to Rawalakot. Cross-border trade, which had been encouraged in recent years as a means to improve strained relations between New Delhi and Islamabad, was also set to resume today after being frozen for the last two weeks. “We are assessing losses the traders suffered because they could not send perishable items across on time,” Shant Manu, secretary for industries and commerce in Indian-held Kashmir, told AFP. The recent flare-up along the Line of Control (LoC) that divides Kashmir between India and

Pakistan saw a total of five soldiers killed earlier this month, with fears that tensions between the two countries could escalate. A ceasefire agreement on January 16 between commanders in both armies has held, however, with politicians on both sides seen as keen to avoid wrecking recent progress in their slow-moving peace process. The cross LoC bus service from Poonch on the Indian side to Rawalakot on the Pakistan side began in 2005 to enable members of divided families in the region to meet each other. Another bus service that departs from the Uri sector of Indian Kashmir to the Pakistani side has been closed because of heavy snowfall in the area. Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir which is administered in part by each of them but claimed in full. — AFP

HYDERABAD: Indian activists of the Telangana Joint Action Committee (T-JAC) cross police barricades during a protest demanding a separate state of Telangana yesterday. The T-JAC demanded the UPA government announce statehood for Telangana in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. — AFP

Publishers flocking to South Asia to tap talent JAIPUR: A hunt for home-grown South Asian literary talent is drawing Western publishing houses to India, snapping up a new generation of writing for a local market out-performing the West and with huge growth potential. Twenty years ago, South Asia’s place on the literary map was marked by writers such as Salman Rushdie and Rohinton Mistry: authors of South Asian descent writing in the West for predominantly Western readers and Western acclaim. Now, publishing houses are searching out local talent to tap the Indian market, where a swelling middle class, rising literacy and income levels and an enormous youth population is seen driving double-digit sales growth for decades. “In terms of being fully present here, that’s books by Indian writers on Indian subjects for an Indian readership, rather than just saying ‘we do this stuff in London and New York and you’ll like it too’,” said Simon Littlewood, internation-

al director at the Random House Group, a British-based publisher owned by German media conglomerate Bertelsmann. Physical book sales in India rose an annual 38.2 percent in the first ten months of 2012, according to data from media consultancy firm Nielsen, against a 13.6 percent decline in sales in the United States during the same period. India’s total publishing market is worth an estimated 100 billion rupees ($1.86 billion), according to the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), with English language books accounting for around a quarter of that. The UK’s publishing industry is worth around 3.2 billion pounds ($5.06 billion), according to a 2011 report by the London-based Publishers Association. “If you look at what is actually selling, the top positions are being taken by... books that are of this culture,” said Littlewood.

“The local readership is craving stories of itself.” South Asian writers such as Jeet Thayil and Mohammed Hanif featured strongly at the Jaipur Literature Festival that concluded yesterday, the region’s largest that in six years has become an important fixture in the global industry’s calendar. At the five-day event, New Delhi-based Thayil was awarded the DSC Prize for South Asian literature and India’s UR Ananthamurthy and Pakistan’s Intizar Husain were shortlisted for the International Man Booker Prize for Fiction. “It’s a wonderful time to be in India for writers,” said Rahul Pandita, a non-fiction author based in New Delhi. “The middle class is becoming conscious about what is happening in their immediate vicinity... in their back yard.” ‘India will boom’ Lured by growth that currently stands at around 30 percent, according to FICCI,

foreign publishers have flocked to set up operations in India, following pioneer Penguin, a unit of Pearson PLC, which entered in 1985. Bloomsbury Publishing launched its Indian business last September, and Simon & Schuster, a unit of CBS Corp , became the last of the “Big Six” publishers to open an Indian division in 2011, joining HarperCollins, a unit of News Corp, Hachette, a unit of France’s Lagardere Sca , Random House and Macmillan. “It’s pretty virgin territory (for local authors),” said David Godwin, an agent who represents best-selling authors such as Arundhati Roy and Vikram Seth. “There are more and more publishers coming over here, it’s a very interesting time.” Overall, demand for books in India is still small. Random House’s Littewood says the market for English books is similar to that of New Zealand, a country with 4.5 million people. “But New Zealand’s market is not get-

ting any bigger. India’s will. India will boom,” said Littlewood, who is based in London. “Playing the long game is what it is all about.” Roughly 80 percent of India’s 1.2 billion people are younger than 45, according to census data, offering publishers a huge pool of growth potential, while the country’s literacy rate stands just below 75 percent, up from 52 percent in 1991. To tap that potential, publishers are searching for writers such as Mumbaibased author Avni Doshi, whose ‘Girl in White Cotton’ this month won the Tibor Jones South Asia Prize, an award open only to unpublished South Asian writers. “The backdrop is India, the people who read the book will be Indian,” said Doshi, the second winner of an award targeting raw South Asian writing talent. “It speaks to the market that (publishers) are here looking for new writers, new voices.” — Reuters



Brit grandmother appeals Indonesia death sentence DENPASAR: A British grandmother convicted for smuggling cocaine into the resort island of Bali filed an appeal yesterday against her death sentence by firing squad, a court official said. Lindsay Sandiford, 56, was handed the death penalty last Tuesday for smuggling almost five kilogrammes (11 pounds) of cocaine worth $2.4 million into Indonesia last May. “Today, she officially submitted a statement to the prison saying she would file an appeal. The prison then contacted us,” Denpasar district court registrar Gede Ketut Rantam told AFP. “She filed the

statement on her own and so far she has not appointed a lawyer,” he added. In a copy of the statement seen by AFP, Sandiford said she was “filing an appeal against the decision of the Denpasar district court on January 22”, without giving other details. A detainee at the infamous Kerobokan prison in Denpasar where Sandiford is being held, told AFP that the Brit “was stressed and always crying”. “We understand her feelings so we leave her alone. She sleeps on the mattress and spends her time knitting,” said the female Indonesian prisoner, who

shared the same cell as Sandiford and declined to be named. When contacted, her defence lawyer during the trial, Esra Karokaro, said he had neither met Sandiford nor had she contacted him over the appeal since the sentencing. He earlier said Sandiford had been “devastated” by the court’s verdict. The appeals process in Indonesia typically takes several years to complete, including protracted hearings at the High Court and Supreme Court, before the final resort of seeking presidential clemency. Authorities had claimed

Sandiford was at the centre of a drugs ring, which had been described as “a huge international syndicate”. She was found guilty of carrying the cocaine into the country in a suitcase, on a flight from Bangkok, but argued that she was coerced and that her children had been threatened. After Sandiford’s arrest three other Britons were detained in connection with the same drugs ring, but two of them were cleared of trafficking charges and received light sentences. A third one, Julian Ponder, will be sentenced today. He

was also cleared of smuggling charges and now faces a lesser charge of drug possession, which is punishable by life imprisonment instead of death. Prosecutors recommended a seven-year sentence. Indonesia enforces stiff penalties for drug trafficking, but death penalty sentences are commonly commuted to long jail sentences. The last execution was in June 2008, when two Nigerian drug traffickers were shot. Two Australians are on death row after being arrested in 2005 for smuggling heroin. — AFP

US envoy urges N Korea to scrap nuke test plan N Korea playing ‘dangerous game of risk’

SEOUL: Myanmarese living in South Korea greet Myanmar’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi upon her arrival at a hotel yesterday. — AFP

Suu Kyi to meet Seoul’s first female leader SEOUL: Both women lost their fathers to gunshots. Both also overcame that tragedy and rose to political prominence in countries where men dominate decision-making, buoyed in part by the legacies of their fathers. Aung San Suu Kyi, the opposition leader whose 2010 release from house arrest signaled the beginning of Myanmar’s transition from decades of military rule, is scheduled to meet today in Seoul with Park Geun-hye, who takes office next month as South Korea’s first female president. The meeting between two of the most prominent women in Asia spotlights a tragic coincidence in their family history: Suu Kyi’s father, Gen. Aung San, was killed by assassins in 1947 while Park’s, President Park Chunghee, was assassinated by his intelligence chief in 1979. Both women have benefited from their late fathers’ reputations. Even as she has blazed her own political trail, the 67-year-old Suu Kyi represents to many of the voters who sent her to parliament last year a link with her father, a legendary independence hero. Park, who is 60, enjoys strong support among older South Koreans with memories of the rapid

economic growth during her father’s rule. Suu Kyi’s trajectory, however, has been one of a dissident, while Park has built a political career as a ruling party lawmaker owing much to her father, a dictator who took power in a 1961 coup and ruled South Korea with an iron fist until he was killed 18 years later. “Park carries family baggage that sets her away from the image of the pro-democracy movement, while Suu Kyi stands on the other side as an icon of democracy,” said Lee Shin-hwa, a professor of political studies at Korea University in Seoul. Democracy has firmly taken root in South Korea since the death of Park’s father and a peaceful transfer of power more than a decade later. Myanmar, with a reformist government in place but the military still in the background, is nurturing a fragile democracy. The meeting between Suu Kyi and Park will be the latest in a series of high-profile exchanges between their countries, including reciprocal visits last year by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Myanmar’s President Thein Sein, both heading delegations keen on bolstering economic cooperation. — AP

TOKYO: A US envoy said yesterday that North Korea is playing a dangerous game with the international community by threatening a nuclear test and urged the communist nation to scrap its plan. Glyn Davies, US Special Representative for North Korea Policy, urged Pyongyang to return to its international obligations in abandoning its nuclear programs. “We find North Korea that seems bent on playing a game of risk. This is very dangerous,” he told reporters after meeting with his Japanese counterpart, Shinsuke Sugiyama, in Tokyo to discuss the anticipated nuclear test. Davies was in Japan following similar talks with South Korean officials in Seoul over the weekend. North Korea’s top governing body warned last Thursday the regime would conduct another nuclear test. It said its long-range rockets are designed to carry not only satellites but also warheads and are capable of striking the US. On Sunday, North Korea said leader Kim Jong Un had ordered top security and foreign affairs officials to take “substantial and high-profile important state

measures.” The move fueled speculation that North Korea is going ahead with plans to explode a nuclear device in defiance of the United Nations. The United States has urged North Korea to return to its obligations under a September 2005 joint statement and abandon its nuclear programs in exchange for aid and a pledge that Washington wouldn’t seek the regime’s fall. Davies said he was not optimistic, but warned North Korea of the consequences of its actions. “If they go in the direction of testing a nuclear device, they are going to set back the prospect of any diplomatic process going forward. So, that kind of a provocative approach to dealing with the outside world will not serve their interests ultimately,” Davies said. China also expressed alarm about a nuclear test. “China is highly concerned about the relevant developments. China is opposed to any acts that might escalate tension or undermine the denuclearization of the peninsula. We hope the relevant sides can remain calm

and restrained and earnestly maintain the peace and stability of Northeast Asia,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily briefing in Beijing. Hong repeated China’s appeal for dialogue. He made a side-swiped criticism of China’s neighbor and ally over its continued funding for defense programs despite a languishing economy, urging it to “develop its economy and improve people’s living conditions.” Last week, the UN Security Council condemned North Korea’s Dec 12 rocket launch as a violation of a ban against nuclear and missile activity. The council, including China, punished Pyongyang with more sanctions and ordered the regime to refrain from a nuclear test, or face “significant action.” North Korea rejected the resolution, claiming its right to launch a satellite as part of a peaceful civilian space program. It warned that it would keep developing rockets and testing nuclear devices to counter what it sees as US hostility. — AP

HK journalists publish press freedom petition HONG KONG: Hong Kong journalists ran a petition in newspapers yesterday urging the city’s Beijing-backed leader to withdraw a proposed law which they said would infringe press freedom. Local and foreign journalists have slammed a government plan to restrict access to information about company directors, after such details were used in a series of investigative reports to expose the wealth of Chinese officials. The petition, which took the form of a full-page advertisement headlined “Secrecy breeds corruption”, was published in five local dailies and signed by nearly 1,800 reporters, journalism professors and students who urged the government to drop the plan. “Freedom of the press and

free flow of information is a cornerstone of Hong Kong’s success,” the petition read. It called on the city leader Leung Chun-ying to “withdraw this retrogressive regulation which grossly impinges on freedom and openness, and stop pushing for this heinous law to limit press freedom”. The former British colony, which reverted to Chinese rule in 1997, maintains a semi-autonomous status with guarantees of civil liberties-including press freedom-not seen in mainland China. Under the proposal, corporate directors could apply to have their residential address and full identity card or passport numbers blocked from public view-a bid the government said was meant to protect their

privacy. But the plan has sparked an uproar among journalists as it comes amid concerns over Beijing’s meddling in local affairs and after a number of reports focusing on the wealth and assets of China’s ruling elite grabbed headlines. Financial newswire Bloomberg has said it used Hong Kong and Chinese identity card numbers from corporate filings to chart business ties and a list of investments made by the extended family of China’s incoming president Xi Jinping in a report published in June last year. The New York Times also said it used such information from Hong Kong over a story in October that showed outgoing premier Wen Jiabao’s relatives had control of assets

worth at least $2.7 billion, a report Beijing branded as a smear. The Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents’ Club, which has opposed the proposal, said the bid is also bad for the city’s business environment and transparency. “Hong Kong, which prides itself on being a world-class financial centre, should not be moving in the opposite direction,” Enid Tsui, a correspondent governor at the club, said. The club and an association representing local journalists will meet with government officials on Wednesday to press their case. A large number of Chinese companies are listed in Hong Kong, a financial hub that acts as a gateway for international firms seeking to tap the booming Chinese market. — AFP

Philippine dictatorship victims compensated MANILA: Almost four decades after he was arrested and tortured and his sister disappeared into a maze of Philippine police cells and military houses, playwright Bonifacio Ilagan is finally seeing his suffering officially recognized. A writer for an underground communist newspaper, Ilagan and thousands like him were rounded up by dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ security forces after he placed the Philippines under martial law in 1972. Detentions, beatings, harassment and killings of the regime’s opponents continued until Marcos was toppled in 1986. Even though democracy was restored, it would take another 27 years for the Philippine Congress to vote on a bill awarding compensation and recognition to martial law victims. The bill was ratified yesterday and will be sent to Pres Benigno Aquino III for signing into law, said Sen Francis Escudero, a key proponent.

“More than the monetary compensation, the bill represents the only formal, written document that martial law violated the human rights of Filipinos and that there were courageous people who fought the dictatorship,” said a statement from SELDA, an organization of former political prisoners that campaigned for the passage of the bill. Ilagan’s story is more of a rule than exception among leftist activists of his generation. “The torture started in the house. We were beaten up, punched and kicked,” he said, recalling a police raid on his residence in April 1974 and the beginning of his two-year detention ordeal. He said he vomited blood after being kicked in the thighs and had the soles of his foot burned by an iron. Ilagan’s sister, Rizalina, disappeared in 1976 along with nine other activists, many of them students involved in anti-Marcos publications,

MANILA: In this photo, Carmencita Florentino, 64, holds newspaper clippings during an interview in her home at a poor neighborhood of Tatalon, Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines. — AP

he said. One of the women arrested by the same government unit that he suspected was involved in his sister’s abduction had escaped to recount her rape and torture. Ilagan said he has no doubt that his sister went through the same abuses. His parents died still hoping his sister would turn up alive, but the family has found no closure, Ilagan said. Lawmakers in two chambers of the Congress agreed last week on the text of the compensation bill. Aquino is the son of an assassinated anti-Marcos activist and a mother who led the 1986 “people power” revolt that ousted Marcos and sent him into US exile, where he died three years later without ever facing prosecution for human rights abuses. Many of Marcos’ men reinvented themselves as powerful politicians or businessmen, and not one was successfully prosecuted for any of the crimes allegedly committed during the martial law years. Two martial law figures, former Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile and the deputy military chief of staff, Fidel Ramos, led a mutiny against Marcos as part of the 1986 revolt. Ramos later served as president from 1992 to 1998, and Enrile is currently the president of the Senate. Despite cases filed by former political prisoners, “there have been no convictions of perpetrators,” Marie Hilao-Enriquez, chairwoman of SELDA, said yesterday. The Marcos family, meanwhile, returned from exile in 1990s and again wields influence. Former first lady Imelda Marcos is a lawmaker, son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcosis is a senator, and daughter Imee is a provincial governor. “Governments after Marcos did not move or did not do anything to go after Marcos seriously, so we filed a case in Hawaii,” Hilao-Enriquez said. In 1992, victims won a class action suit against the Marcos estate in Hawaii. Under the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, the 9,539 victims will be awarded compensation using $246 million that the Philippine government recovered from Marcos’ ill-gotten wealth. But all claims will have to evaluated by an independent commission and the amount each will receive will depend of the abuse suffered. “Finally, over two decades after the fall of the dictatorship, we will have a law that puts the responsibility of human rights abuses square on the shoulder of Marcos and provides justice for all those who suffered under his reign,” said Rep. Walden Bello, a member of a congressional committee that drafted and approved the bill. — AP

TOKYO: Japanese lawmakers clad in kimono participate in the opening ceremony of the ordinary diet session at the upper house of parliament yesterday. — AP

Japan underestimated China in territorial row TOKYO: Japan’s government underestimated how China would react to its decision to buy islands at the centre of a bitter territorial dispute, Tokyo’s former envoy to Beijing said yesterday. “I don’t know why such a decision was made in a hurried manner and at such a time” Uichiro Niwa told a news conference, speaking of then-prime minister Yoshihiko Noda’s September announcement he was buying three of the Senkakus. Noda’s government maintained the purchase was little more than administrative-transferring uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, known as the Diaoyus in China, from a private Japanese citizen to the state. The administration made no secret of the fact that it was intended to outfox an attempt to buy the islands by the nationalistic then-mayor of Tokyo Shintaro Ishihara, which it judged would be a worse provocation to Beijing. “The government of Japan transferred ownership from an individual to the state based on its domestic law, but once an issue involves crossing waters, it becomes a diplomatic issue,” Niwa told reporters. “I think (Japan) should have taken it more seriously and offered a diplomatic explanation to China.” The businessmanturned-envoy said China’s President Hu

Jintao lost face when Noda announced the nationalisation only days after Hu warned against the move. The two leaders held unofficial talks on the sidelines of last year’s Asia-Pacific summit in Vladivostok, during which Hu reportedly told Noda to understand Beijing’s seriousness and handle the case from a broad perspective. “(Noda) made Hu Jintao lose face as head of state,” which led to “raging reactions” from Beijing, Niwa said. “China is a country that places a great deal of importance on saving face,” he added. “ The Japanese side appeared to have underestimated it to a certain degree.” The two countries have argued for decades about the ownership of the archipelago but the dispute flared anew after Ishihara announced his bid. The nationalisation sparked large demonstrations in China and cooled the multi-billion dollar trade relationship as a consumer boycott weighing heavily on Japanese firms, including the country’s auto and electronics giants. Beijing has repeatedly sent its ships, and latterly its planes, to the area in a bid to assert its control over the chain. Last week a Japanese emissary met China’s incoming president Xi Jinping and handed him a letter from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The contents were not disclosed. — AFP



Protesters spurn offer for talks, defy... Continued from Page 1 They offered prayers on the dead at the city’s Mariam mosque and marched with the bodies to the city’s cemetery about a mile away. Two army helicopters hovered above the funeral. Clashes erupted in the evening in the al-Arab district of the city, and a security forces’ armored personnel carried opened fire, one witness, Ibrahim Ezzideen, told The AP. He did not have word on casualties. The same district saw heavy fighting the past two days. In Cairo, hundreds of young, stone-throwing protesters fought pitched battles yesterday with riot police near Qasr el-Nil Bridge, a landmark bridge over the Nile River next to major hotels. One protester died of gunshot wounds, according to health and security officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to talk to the press. White clouds of tear gas hung over the area from early yesterday morning and at times wafted across the river to the upscale island of Zamalek and the leafy district of Garden City. The fighting was reminiscent of scenes two years ago to the day, when police and protesters battered each other on the same bridge in the most violent day of the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak. Anger over Morsi’s latest measures was evident at the site of yesterday’s clashes, near Tahrir Square. “People died to gain their freedom, social justice, bread. Now after 29 years of the despotic Mubarak, we’re ruled by a worse regime: religious fascist, more dangerous,” said Mohammed Saber, a 65-year old engineer who came to watch the clashes

with his wife and children. The wave of violence began Thursday and accelerated the following day, which fell on the two-year anniversary of the start of the anti-Mubarak uprising. Protests Friday that turned to clashes around the country left 11 dead, most of them in Suez. The next day, riots exploded in Port Said after a court convicted and sentenced to death 21 defendants - mostly locals - for a mass soccer riot in the city’s main stadium a year ago. Rioters attacked police stations, clashed with security forces in the streets and shots and tear gas were fired at protester funerals in mayhem that left 44 people dead over the weekend. Throughout the past five days, anger over the policies of Morsi, who in June became Egypt’s first freely elected president, and the slow rate of change have helped fuel the protests and clashes. The opposition National Salvation Front has painted the explosion of unrest as a backlash against attempts by Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists to monopolize power in Egypt. It says the instability is proof that Morsi doesn’t have enough legitimacy to bring security or achieve reforms alone. In his television address, Morsi repeated calls for a national dialogue to resolve the nation’s problems, a call opponents have repeatedly rejected, saying the talks are mere window-dressing with no real say. At a televised news conference, Salvation Front head Mohamed ElBaradei said the call was “without form and content.” ElBaradei said Morsi must first appoint a national unity government and a commission to amend the disputed constitution ratified in a referendum last month before the opposition can join a — AP

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama meets with representatives from Major Cities Chiefs Association and Major County Sheriffs Association in the Roosevelt Room of the White House yesterday. — AP




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US casts wary eye at Muslim Brotherhood By Lara jakes


resident Barack Obama begins his second term straining to maintain a good relationship with Egypt, an important US ally whose president is a conservative Islamist walking a fine line between acting as a moderate peace broker and keeping his Muslim Brotherhood party happy with anti-American rhetoric. The White House last summer had hoped to smooth over some of the traditional tensions between Washington and the Brotherhood, a party rooted in opposition to Israel and the US, when Egypt overthrew dictator Hosni Mubarak and picked Mohammed Morsi as its first democratically elected leader. But a spate of recent steps - from Brotherhood-led attacks on protesters, to vague protestations of women’s freedoms in the nation’s new constitution, to revelations of old comments by Morsi referring to Jews as “bloodsuckers” - have raised alarm among senior US officials and threatens $1 billion in American aid to Egypt. Though the Brotherhood was founded in Egypt, its influence and affiliates have spread across the Mideast and into North Africa - where two recent terrorist attacks and a French assault on Islamist militants in Mali have presented Obama with a new front in the battle against extremism for his second term. The White House has little interest in picking a fight with the Muslim Brotherhood, which has grown in size and stature across the region since the Arab Spring revolts. The Brotherhood and similar Islamist movements are regarded warily by monarchies in Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco. Its members are part of the opposition coalition seeking to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad. It has small followings in Qatar, Algeria, and a like-minded - although not officially affiliated - ally in Tunisia. When Egyptians elected Morsi, he offered words of moderation, brokered a ceasefire between Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza and bore down on terrorist dens in the Sinai Peninsula. The Morsi-led government is “a new administration and they’re obviously having growing pains,” said a senior Obama administration official who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity so he could discuss the diplomatic relationship more candidly. Since the Tahrir Square revolution two years ago, Washington has tried to help Egypt build a democratic state without appearing to tread on its sovereignty. Morsi won election last June with 51 percent of Egypt’s vote. A new eruption of political violence in Egypt over the weekend left about 50 people dead, deepening the malaise as the Morsi struggles to get a grip on enormous social and economic problems. He has declared a 30day state of emergency and curfew in the three Suez Canal provinces hit hardest by the violence. The White House is increasingly concerned about the direction the Brotherhood is taking Egypt: “It’s not just about majority rule,” the administration official said. “There are democratic principles that we continue to support.” Morsi’s anti-Semitic comments, made in separate speeches in 2010 but which surfaced this month on Egyptian TV, also accused Obama of being a liar. They shocked US officials who sprang to condemn them as counter-productive to American-supported peace efforts in the Mideast. But they surprised few people in Egypt, who have heard Brotherhood officials make similar statements for years. Morsi initially struggled to respond to the US backlash from the comments. His office issued a statement committing to uphold religious freedoms and tolerance, and condemning violence. “The president strongly believes that we must respect and indeed celebrate our common humanity, and does not accept or condone derogatory statements regarding any religious or ethnic group,” the statement said, without addressing the fact that Morsi himself made those comments. The statement, however, did little to soothe US lawmakers Democrats and Republicans alike - who have balked at approving $1 billion in aid to Egypt that Obama promised in 2011 to help the new government settle an economic crisis that has drained the country’s central bank and devalued the local currency in the revolution’s aftermath. “How would the American people feel about cutting money to education programs here and giving money to a government that is anti-Semitic?” Rep Frank Wolf, a member of the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees funding to foreign governments, said. “I don’t think the administration has any right to say they are going to grant this foreign aid because I think this Congress may very well condition it,” Wolf said. “I think there are a lot of questions, and I don’t think it’s a given.” Part of the proposed $1 billion aid package depends on International Monetary Fund approval of its own $4.8 billion loan to Egypt. But that loan has stalled for months because of Egypt’s instability. Despite its misgivings about Morsi, the White House still is pushing Congress for the funding, acknowledging that Egypt’s downfall all but certainly would roil the already turbulent Mideast and North Africa. —AP

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ANC risks losing ‘born free’ voters By Jon Herskovitz


hen Nelson Mandela and his ANC party dreamed of South Africa’s future after apartheid, they probably imagined someone like Fulufhelo Davhana, a young black who has seen the doors of opportunity opened wide and is destined for achievement. But Davhana, a 23-year-old accounting student at the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto Campus, is dreaming of a future when the African National Congress elders who ended white minority rule no longer call the shots. “Our current leaders don’t understand about the ‘born free’ generation because they are still stuck in the past,” he said. These South Africans, who were born after apartheid ended in 1994 and have lived only under democracy, can vote for the first time in presidential elections next year and could begin reshaping politics in Africa’s largest economy. Many older South Africans still feel grateful to the ANC for winning their freedom, ensuring the party unbroken power for the past two decades. However, the “born frees” are not as swayed by history as their elders, and studies show that most people reaching the minimum voting age of 18 have no party allegiance. With youth unemployment double the national average at about 50 percent, they instead want to hold the ANC under President Jacob Zuma accountable for the rampant corruption and bureaucratic incompetence that even the party admits are undermining its governance. A TV advertising campaign this month by a leading bank has stoked the conflict. It shows teenagers speaking hopefully of their future but criticising the ANC for being stuck in the past

and unwilling to fix current problems. “We need to stop relying on government and rely on ourselves,” one student said. “The government is only thinking for themselves. I’m from a rural area and the government doesn’t see what’s happening,” said another. Some members of the 101year-old ANC accused First National Bank of treason and sending messages that were “disrespectful to elders”. The chief executive of FNB’s parent, financial group FirstRand, met the ANC on Friday to clear the air. While the meeting took the heat out of their row, the generational divide will only grow in importance. It could transform elections which the ANC has become used to winning with the support of voters thankful that it ended the system of racial oppression. South Africa is a young country: about 40 percent of the population was born after 1994. Nearly two million born frees can vote next year, when Zuma is likely to seek re-election. This is a relatively small percentage of the 23 million-strong electorate. However, the born frees will make up about a third of voters by 2019, when the following presidential election is due, according to census and election data. Zuma says he is unconcerned. “The overwhelming percentage of South Africa is very young so it is this very population that is joining the ANC, that is voting (for) the ANC, so we don’t have a worry,” he told Reuters last week. The numbers tell a different story. Nearly 75 percent of South Africans aged 20-29 did not vote in 2011 elections for local posts, according to electoral data and studies by government-affiliated groups, far more than in other age groups. South Africans in that age group were more likely

to have taken part in violent street protests against the local ANC than to have voted for the ruling party, studies showed. Zuma, a 70-year-old Zulu traditionalist who has called for young ANC members to obey their elders, has looked to older voters for support in rural areas instead of the young blacks flocking to the cities. Last year he told parliament he was worried about black people “who become too clever” because they could become the sharpest critics of African tradition and culture. Such comments have stirred up storms on social media but while the young voters may not like Zuma, so far they appear to be withholding their votes from any leader. Many hope the ANC will start serving their interests better and are not flocking to the main opposition Democratic Alliance, which is trying to woo young blacks and shed its image as the party of white privilege. “We are tired of being told ‘we are going to change this and we are going to change that’. If implementation starts, then that is where a party will get my vote,” said Davhana. According to the Reconciliation Barometer, an annual survey published for more than a decade that tracks the views of young adults, the born free generation is optimistic, confident the economy will grow and distrustful of current leaders. “(The) findings also point to a disconnect and a rising cynicism between younger South Africans, the born free generation, and this country’s past,” it said. ANC governments have made great strides in bringing new schools, housing and running water to the impoverished millions. But they have also set up a labour market ranked as one of the world’s most

rigid where it is difficult for young people to land a job. A study by the South African Institute of Race Relations said about half of today’s youth faced a lifetime of unemployment. The born frees have been described as a ticking time bomb, needing massive social grants that could bankrupt the country, if the tide is not turned on unemployment. But if the power of the generation is harnessed, it could pay an enormous demographic dividend. The generation marks a temporary bulge in the birth rate two decades ago, and the growing numbers of young will have a proportionately declining population of elderly to support. This means South Africa could avoid the problems of an ageing population that many Western countries experience - provided the young can find work. “We have so many young people in the country who are more educated than there were previously and don’t have the same burden of older people to support,” said Sharlene Swartz, a director at the Human Sciences Research Council, a think tank. “The population level beneath them is dropping and this could lead to a huge economic growth spurt for the country.” Back at the University of Johannesburg campus in Soweto, near where students rose against the apartheid government in the 1970s, Wendy Langa, 21, is studying to become an entrepreneur. “It is empowering to know that South Africa is born free and there is no more struggling. We need to focus more on education and making this country a better place,” she said. Langa said she would vote next year “not for what a party did in its past, but what it will do in the future”. —Reuters

DR Congo, Mali cloud African summit By Helen Vesperini


he collapse of a peace deal for troubled eastern DR Congo overshadowed a summit meeting of African leaders yesterday, as efforts continued to drum up support for military intervention in war-torn Mali. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had urged leaders from Africa’s Great Lakes region to sign an agreement aimed at ending recurrent unrest in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where the M23 rebels control swathes of mineral-rich territory. But a signing ceremony for the deal-the details of which have not been made public-was cancelled Monday morning just 30 minutes before it was due to take place. “This is a very complex issue, talks are still continuing,” said Eri Kaneko, a spokeswoman for Ban, without giving further details. The presidents of Rwanda and Uganda-which UN experts have accused of backing the M23, a charge both governments deny-as well as DR Congo, Angola, Burundi, Republic of Congo, South Africa and Tanzania had been expected to sign the deal. Rwandan President Paul

Kagame and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni both refused to comment on the proposed deal, holding a discreet meeting Monday on the sidelines of the AU summit, an AFP reporter said. Ban urged region-

address the structural causes of the recurring cycles of violence” in the region. The latest cycle of unrest in eastern DR Congo erupted last year. The rebels seized the key eastern city of Goma in

ADDIS ABABA: UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon addresses the media at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa yesterday during the 20th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government. —AFP al leaders at the opening of the African Union summit Sunday to “endorse a Peace Security and Cooperation Framework to

November before pulling out 12 days later. Peace talks have been held in Uganda, but have so far made little headway. Other dis-

cussions at the AU summit-the second and final day of the 54member bloc’s biannual meeting-focused on Mali, including the scaling-up of African troops to help the Malian army battle Islamist militants who seized the country’s vast desert north in April last year. On Sunday, outgoing AU chairman Thomas Boni Yayi, the president of Benin, told fellow leaders their response to conflict in Mali had been too slow, and thanked France, the country’s former colonial ruler, for taking the lead in its military intervention there. France’s action, launched on January 11 after Islamists seized a central town and threatened to advance on the capital, was something “we should have done a long time ago to defend a member country”, he said, asking how it was “that Africa, despite having the means to defend itself, continued to wait”. He appealed for “further commitment... for the financing of all the forces”. The UN chief also told the summit he was “determined to do everything to help the people of Mali”, but urged the government to ensure “an inclusive political process”. After the summit, African leaders are expected to stay

behind for a donor conference on Tuesday to drum up support for the African-led mission in Mali, or AFISMA. On Friday, the AU security council gave member states one week to commit troops to the force. Tensions between Sudan and newly independent South Sudan and efforts to build peace in chronically unstable Somalia have also been discussed at the summit. South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and his northern counterpart Omar al-Bashir met again Sunday after face-to-face talks on Friday ahead of the summit, but officials said no progress had been made. The former civil war foes are yet implement stalled oil, security and border deals, which have not been rolled out despite agreements signed in September, months after bloody border clashes took the rivals to the brink of all-out war. On Somalia, Ban said he welcomed the seizure of a string of key towns from Islamist insurgents by AU troops there, saying it had “opened space for peacebuilding.” The country’s Al Qaeda-linked Shebab militants have been losing ground to a 17,000-strong AU force and Ethiopian troops who invaded in 2011 from the west. —Reuters


S P ORTS Ryder opts for IPL over England series WELLINGTON: New Zealand batsman Jesse Ryder will miss the Black Caps’ home series against England and instead make himself available for the Indian Premier League, his manager said yesterday. Ryder opted to take a self-imposed break from cricket last March after a series of disciplinary lapses and a drop in form that led to him consulting a psychologist. The talented batsman has been in good touch since returning to first-class cricket with Wellington late last year but manager Aaron Klee said it was too early for the 28year-old to resume his international career. “There’s nothing to be gained by rushing him back,” Klee told the Dominion Post newspaper. “There’s just downside risks, but if we’re a bit more patient and wait till everything is in place and Jesse’s ready, then there will be more upside risks.” Instead of playing in the England tour beginning next month, Klee said Ryder would put himself forward in the player auction for the IPL, which runs from April 3 to May 26. “People are going to speculate about why he’s available for the IPL and not New Zealand (but) it’s a domestic competition and it’s a short-term contract, so it gives us the ability to reassess it.” —AFP

British rowing mourns cox Nethercott, dead

Jayasuriya named S Lanka’s chairman of selectors COLOMBO: Former Sri Lanka cricketer turned politician Sanath Jayasuriya was appointed chairman of selectors in a new-look five-member committee named by sports minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage yesterday. Jayasuriya, 43, is joined by 1996 World Cup winning team mate Pramodya Wickramasinghe. Former Sri Lanka players Hemantha Wickramaratne, Eric Upashantha and Chaminda Mendis were the other selectors appointed. Wickramaratne is the only surviving member of the previous committee headed by Ashantha de Mel whose extended term ends on Jan. 31. A destructive left-handed opener, Jayasuriya represented Sri Lanka in 110 Tests and 445 one-day internationals in a 22-year career before quitting in 2011 and taking to politics. He is a Member of Parliament of the ruling party United People Freedom Alliance (UPFA) in his hometown Matara. —Reuters

LONDON: Senior figures from the world of British rowing paid tribute to Acer Nethercott following the Olympic silver medal-winning cox’s death at the age of 35. His death, following a recent illness, was confirmed on Sunday and GB Rowing performance director David Tanner paid tribute to Nethercott, who coxed the British men’s eight to silver at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing by saying: “It is very sad news. “Acer was the top British cox of his time. He coxed our excellent silver medal winning eight at Beijing 2008. “He had an exceptional period with the GB Rowing Team until illness in the past Olympiad.” Nethercott made his name in rowing as a cox with the Oxford University crew in three Boat Races, winning in both 2003 and 2005. Garry Herbert, the Olympic gold medal-winning cox from Barcelona 1992, was one of several who used Twitter to mourn Nethercott’s passing. He tweeted: “A privilege to have known him, he lived up to the meaning of his name in every way.” And double Olympic gold medallist James Crack nell said: “Weekend of sporting upsets put into perspective by terrible passing of Acer Nethercott.” —AFP

Bright day for LA as Clippers, Lakers win Celtics’ Rondo out rest of season with torn ACL

LA JOLLA: Tiger Woods reacts to his birdie attempt on the 17th hole during the Third Round at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course on Sunday in La Jolla, California. —AFP

Tiger headed toward another win at Torrey SAN DIEGO: The Pacific air was so cold at the end of a 10-hour day at Torrey Pines that Tiger Woods thrust both hands in the front pockets of his rain pants as he walked off the course at the Farmers Insurance Open. It was a fitting image. Woods made a marathon day look like he was out for a stroll. Staked to a two-shot lead going into the third round of this fog-delayed tournament, Woods drove the ball where he was aiming and was hardly ever out of position. Even with a bogey on the final hole - the easiest on the back nine Woods still had a 3-under 69 and expanded his lead by two shots. In the seven holes he played in the fourth round later Sunday afternoon, Woods hit the ball all over the course and still made three birdies to add two more strokes to his lead. Thanks to the fog that wiped out an entire day of golf on Saturday, the Farmers Insurance Open didn’t stand a chance of finishing on Sunday. Woods just made it look like it was over. He had a six-shot lead with 11 holes to play going into the conclusion of the final round today. The two guys chasing him were Brandt Snedeker, the defending champion, and Nick Watney, who won at Torrey Pines in 2008. Neither was waving a white flag. Both understood how much the odds were stacked against them. “I’ve got a guy at the top of the leaderboard that doesn’t like giving up leads,” Snedeker said. “So I have to go catch him.”“All we can do tomorrow is go out and try to make him think about it a little bit and see what happens,” Watney said. And then there was Erik Compton, a twotime heart transplant recipient who had a birdieeagle finish in the third round that put him in third place through 54 holes, still five shots behind Woods. Someone asked Compton about trying to chase Woods. He laughed. “I’m trying to chase myself,” he said. Woods was at 17-under par for the tournament, and more than just a sixshot lead was in his corner. He finished the third round at 14-under 202, making it the 16th time on the PGA Tour that he had at least a four-shot lead going into the final round. His record on the PGA Tour with the outright lead after 54 holes is 38-2, the exceptions being Ed Fiori in 1996 when Woods was a 20year-old rookie and Y.E. Yang in the 2009 PGA Championship. Woods attributed his big lead to the “whole package.”“I’ve driven the ball well, I’ve hit my irons well, and I’ve chipped and putted well,” he said. “Well, I’ve hit good putts. They all haven’t gone in.” Woods has a good history of Monday finishes, starting with Torrey Pines. It was on this course along the coast north of La Jolla that Woods won a 19-hole playoff against Rocco Mediate to capture the 2008 U.S. Open for his

14th major. He also won the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on a Monday in 2000 when he rallied from seven shots behind with seven holes to play. He won his lone title in The Players Championship on a Monday, along with a fiveshot win in the Memorial in 2000, and a scheduled Monday finish in the Deutsche Bank Championship outside Boston. Woods even gets to sleep in. A Monday finish because of weather typically resumes in the morning so players can get to the next tournament. CBS Sports, however, decided it wanted to televise the conclusion, and so play won’t begin until 2 p.m. EST. That decision might have been based on Woods being headed toward victory just a hunch. Woods already has won seven times at Torrey Pines, including the US Open. That matches his PGA Tour record at Bay Hill and Firestone (Sam Snead won the Greensboro Open eight times, four each on a different course). The tournament isn’t over, and Woods doesn’t see it that way. “I’ve got to continue with executing my game plan. That’s the idea,” he said. “I’ve got 11 holes to play, and I’ve got to play them well.” He seized control with his 69 in the third round that gave him a four-shot lead, and he might have put this away in the two hours he played before darkness stopped play. He badly missed the first fairway to the left, but had a gap through the Torrey pines to the green and had a two-putt par. He missed his next shot so far to the left that the ball wound up in the first cut of the adjacent sixth fairway. He still managed a simple up-and-down for par. After a 10-foot birdie on the par-3 third, Woods couldn’t afford to go left off the tee again because of the PGA Tour’s largest water hazard the Pacific Ocean. So he went miles right, beyond a cart path, a tree blocking his way to the green. He hit a cut shot that came up safely short of the green, and then chipped in from 40 feet for birdie. “I was able to play those holes in 2-under par,” Woods said. “And then I hit three great drives right in a row.” One of them wasn’t that great - it was in the right rough, the ball so buried that from 214 yards that Woods hit a 5-wood. It scooted down the fairway and onto the green, setting up a two-putt birdie the stretched his lead to six shots. And after another good drive, the horn sounded to stop play. Because it was due to weather, Woods was able to finish the hole, and he two-putted for par. Eleven holes today were all that were keeping him from his 75th career win on the PGA Tour, and delivering a message to the rest of golf that there could be more of this to follow no matter what the golf course. —AP

LOS ANGELES: The Los Angeles Clippers arrested their four-game losing skid while their city rivals the Los Angeles Lakers provided a rare bright spot in their dire season by beating the NBA-leading Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday. The Clippers were again without star guard Chris Paul but this time his teammates picked up the slack and beat the Portland Trail Blazers 96-83. The Lakers stood firm in the closing stages to hold off the Thunder and win 105-96, temporarily easing the gloom around the heralded title contenders who have a disappointing 19-25 record. The defeat cost Oklahoma City the league lead, dropping below San Antonio. In other key games, Carmelo Anthony led New York to a tight win over Atlanta and Boston had a bittersweet night, beating Miami in double overtime but learning that guard Rajon Rondo will miss the rest of the season. In the absence of Paul, it was Blake Griffin (23 points and nine assists) and stand-in point guard Eric Bledsoe (10 points, five assists and five rebounds) who played the key roles in the win over Portland. All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge led the Trail Blazers with 21 points and 11 rebounds but the visitors were never in the contest. The Lakers beat the Thunder 105-96, with Kobe Bryant having 21 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds. Steve Nash added seven of his 17 points in the final 51/2 minutes as the Lakers coolly maintained a small lead in the closing stages. Kevin Durant scored 35 points for road-weary Oklahoma City, who finished their longest trip of the season at 3-3. The New York Knicks edged the Atlanta Hawks 106-104 thanks chiefly to the efforts of Anthony, who tied a franchise record with nine 3-pointers, then converted a go-ahead, three-point play with 12.5 seconds left to cap a 42-point night. The Hawks shot a season-high 60 percent from the field but had their three-game winning streak snapped when Josh Smith missed a 3-pointer on Atlanta’s final possession. Amare Stoudemire and J.R. Smith each had 18 points for the Knicks, who were 16 of 27 (59 percent) from 3-point range. Boston’s Rondo will require major surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee which he damaged against Atlanta on Friday. The news put a dampener on the Celtics’ 100 -98 win over the Miami Heat. Paul Pierce hit a go-ahead jumper with 31 seconds left in the

LOS ANGELES: Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) drives as Oklahoma City Thunder forward Thabo Sefolosha (2), of Switzerland, defends in the second half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Sunday. The Lakers won 105-96. —AP Zach Randolph led Memphis with 20 points and 13 rebounds for his league-leading 28th doubledouble.In other games, the Dallas Mavericks had a 110-95 win over the Phoenix Suns to celebrate Shawn Marion’s 1,000th game, while the Detroit Pistons downed the Orlando Magic 104-102 with Brandon Knight scoring a careerhigh 31 points including five 3pointers. —AP

signed as a free agent with Miami. He scored 21 points. The New Orleans Hornets rode the hot shooting of Ryan Anderson to a 91-83 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. Anderson scored 22 points connecting on seven 3pointers. Anderson was 7 of 13 from the field, all of his attempts coming from outside the arc. Fellow reserve Jason Smith was 5 of 7 from the field for 16 points.

second overtime to give the Celtics victory. Kevin Garnett had 24 points and 11 rebounds, and Pierce added 17 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists for the Celtics, who ended a six-game losing streak, their longest in six seasons. LeBron James scored 34 points for the Heat, who had won four in a row. It was the first game in Boston for Ray Allen since he left the Celtics after five seasons and

NBA results/standings Boston 100, Miami 98 (OT); LA Lakers 105, Oklahoma City 96; Detroit 104, Orlando 102; New Orleans 91, Memphis 83; NY Knicks 106, Atlanta 104; Dallas 110, Phoenix 95.

NY Knicks Brooklyn Boston Philadelphia Toronto

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L 27 15 .643 26 18 .591 21 23 .477 18 25 .419 16 28 .364

Chicago Indiana Milwaukee Detroit Cleveland

Central Division 26 17 .605 26 18 .591 23 19 .548 17 27 .386 13 32 .289

Miami Atlanta Orlando Washington Charlotte

Southeast Division 28 13 .683 25 19 .568 14 29 .326 11 31 .262 11 32 .256

PCT 2 7 9.5 12


Western Conference Northwest Division Oklahoma City 34 11 .756 Denver 27 18 .600 Utah 24 20 .545 Portland 22 22 .500 Minnesota 17 24 .415

7 9.5 11.5 15

0.5 2.5 9.5 14

LA Clippers Golden State LA Lakers Sacramento Phoenix

Pacific Division 33 13 .717 26 17 .605 19 25 .432 16 29 .356 15 30 .333

5.5 13 16.5 17.5

4.5 15 17.5 18

San Antonio Memphis Houston Dallas New Orleans

Southwest Division 36 11 .766 28 15 .651 24 22 .522 19 25 .432 15 29 .341

6 11.5 15.5 19.5

No more doubts for Wood after victory in Qatar

SAN DIEGO: Brandt Snedeker drives on the seventh hole during the fourth round of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament, Sunday, in San Diego. —AP

DOHA: Britain’s Chris Wood was beginning to wonder if he would ever end his title drought before he finally made the breakthrough in the Qatar Masters at the weekend. It was a case of third time lucky for the 6foot-5 (1.96-metre) Wood after he had twice previously gone into the closing day of a European Tour event at the summit of the leaderboard only to slip down the field in the final round. The 25-year-old had also amassed 19 top-10 finishes without once entering the winner’s circle.”I was starting to have little doubts that I would ever win,” Wood told reporters after climbing into the top 60 of the world rankings from number 142. “But I have a load of good people and good friends around me they see me playing at home and know full well that I’m good enough to win. Until you do it though, the doubt is in the back of your mind.”

Wood, who finished in the top five at the British Open in 2008 and 2009, delivered a majestic coup de grace on the last hole in Doha on Saturday. The Englishman needed an eagle three to pip Spain’s Sergio Garcia and George Coetzee of South Africa for the title and he produced a sumptuous six-iron from 202 yards before coaxing in his putt from 12 feet. “I couldn’t really feel my hands at the time,” said the Qatar champion, who shares the distinction with Swede Robert Karlsson of being the tallest players on the tour. “It was one chance and I knew that was all I was going to get. “Four years of frustration of not winning and it all came out a bit after the putt,” added Wood, referring to his emotional punch of the air as the ball disappeared into the cup. He said former world number one Tiger Woods was the inspiration behind his six-iron approach. “I remember watching Tiger hit a shot a few

years ago on the 18th hole, an eight-iron to six feet,” Wood explained after picking up the first prize of 310,917 euros ($419,000). “His attitude was, ‘I’m going to win this tournament whatever happens’. That is one of his massive strengths. “I had that in the back of my mind, to just let my swing go and no matter how it feels, trust it, commit to it and I hit a really good shot,” said Wood. “I didn’t know the situation before that and only looked at the leaderboard for the first time before the putt at the last.” Wood now moves on to this week’s Dubai Classic, the final event of the tour’s three-tournament ‘Desert Swing’ that will feature the first competitive outing of the season from world number seven Lee Westwood. “This win has definitely opened the door to a few more things for me and now I can set a couple of different targets for the next few months,” said Wood. —Reuters



Conway signs 1-race deal with Rahal for Long Beach LONG BEACH: Mike Conway doesn’t regret walking away from last season’s IndyCar finale, a decision made when he realized he simply wasn’t comfortable racing on ovals. The Englishman just doesn’t want that choice to mark the end of his IndyCar career. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing is the first team to give Conway another chance, announcing yesterday a one-race deal for the April 21 race on the street course at Long Beach. Conway, who scored the only IndyCar win of his career at Long Beach in 2011, will drive a second Honda for RLL. “I’m very excited - it’s a track I know well, and a place I’ve won before and I’m really looking forward to competing again,” he told The Associated Press in a phone interview. Conway has been trying to put

together a program of street and road course races in IndyCar, the series he still wants to be part of despite his decision to give up his seat at Fontana last September. He walked away after a day of testing at the 2-mile oval, telling A.J. Foyt Racing he was too uneasy to continue. Conway missed most of the 2010 season with serious injuries to his back and leg suffered in a lastlap crash at the Indianapolis 500. He was in the 2011 finale at Las Vegas when Dan Wheldon was killed, and was involved in a wreck at Indianapolis last season in which his car turned on its side against the fence. “I never really liked ovals, to be honest,” he said. “And then I was in the Indy crash, and then the thing at the end of 2011 that obviously didn’t sit

well with me. I just felt like it was time to call it a day, and there’s no sense doing something you aren’t enjoying. It was the best decision for me, and I am happy I made it because I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy it.” But Conway very much wants to remain a part of the IndyCar Series, and has been working through the winter to line up races. He stayed in contact with RLL team co-owner Bobby Rahal and was able to put together the deal to drive the No. 30 at Long Beach. Sponsorship details will be announced at a later date. Rahal said he and co-owner Mike Lanigan tried to sign Conway in 2011 but were ultimately unable to put together a deal. “Fortunately we are able to do so now,” Rahal said. “Mike is a very good driver

and I think he will be very competitive in our environment. He and Graham (Rahal) get along well, so it’s a real one-two punch for us.” Conway said he’s still trying to line up more races for 2013, but needs to put together a funding package attractive to an owner willing to find another driver to race the oval part of the schedule. “I’d like to continue in IndyCar if possible. I’d like to ultimately get together a full street course and road course program, and I’m working toward that,” Conway said. “I knew it wouldn’t be easy not to race on ovals, but it’s what I wanted to do. I’ve had a few years in the series now, and I think owners know what I am capable of, it’s just a matter of making things happen. I’ve just got to never give up and keep working on it.” — AP

All stars defend Pro Bowl credibility after NFC thrash AFC HONOLULU: Despite the players’ best efforts to give the event a more competitive edge, the NFC cruised to a Pro Bowl record 62-35 victory over the AFC in Honolulu on Sunday. The season-ending game that features the league’s best players not involved in next Sunday’s Super Bowl had come under fire for being a glorified exhibition and with its future said to be in doubt, those taking part rallied to raise its profile. NFC tight end Kyle Rudolph rose to the occasion with 122 receiving yards and a touchdown to grab MVP honours, while rookie quarterback Russell Wilson tossed three scoring passes in a performance he hopes will help secure the game’s future. “I think everyone played really hard,” Wilson told reporters. “Just being around (quarterbacks) Drew Brees, and the Eli and Peyton Mannings of the world is (once in a lifetime). That’s why I hope they keep the Pro Bowl. It’s special and means some-

thing.” The Pro Bowl offers a welcome trip to Hawaii after a gruelling season but the players were clearly concerned with its reputation and tenuous status. AFC defensive tackle J.J. Watt was left with blood splattered across his jersey, proof that he had given his all, while others went out of their way to exhibit extra effort. The NFC fell 14-10 behind in the second quarter but took control with 28 straight points. Eli Manning tossed a pair of TDs while Andrew Luck threw a couple of late scores for the AFC and A.J. Green caught three in the defeat. “It’s an honour (to be here),” Green said. “I just go out and work as hard as I can. I love this game.” The NFC surpassed the previous high total of 59 points scored by the AFC a year ago that set off complaints about the annual contest. “It’s extremely important to keep this game for the NFL and all the local Hawaiians,” Rudolph said. — AP

‘Puerto’ doping trial opens in Spain MADRID: A doctor accused of masterminding a vast doping network that snared dozens of cyclists went on trial in Spain yesterday along with four alleged conspirators. Trial witnesses include Alber to Contador, the Tour de France winner in 2007 and 2009, who returned to competition last year after a two-year ban for a separate doping case which he denied.

accused. He will have to show that the blood transfusions put the riders’ health at risk. Fuentes has denied putting athletes’ health at risk. Witnesses such as former cyclist Jesus Manzano, scheduled to testify on February 11, will try to refute that. Since 2004 Manzano, a former rider on Spanish team Kelme of which Fuentes was the head doctor, has

MONTREAL: Steve Bernier #18 of the New Jersey Devils body checks Ryan White during the NHL game at the Bell Centre on Sunday in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Canadiens defeated the Devils 4-3 in overtime. — AFP

Markov lifts Canadiens past Devils in overtime Elias reaches 900 career points

MADRID: Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, third right, gestures as he leaves the court house in Madrid, Spain, yesterday. The Operation Puerto doping-in-sport trial started yesterday where Judge Julia Santamaria will try six defendants, including doctors Eufemiano and Yolanda Fuentes and Jose Luis Merino, cycling team managers Manolo Saiz and Vicente Belda and trainer Ignacio Labarta. — AP

The trial in Madrid will do little to boost the credentials of a sport still reeling from Lance Armstrong’s admission that he cheated his way to a record seven Tour de France wins. Police busted the Spanish network in 2006 when they seized bags of blood and other evidence of performance-enhancing transfusions, in an investigation dubbed “Operation Puerto”. Among the five defendants facing charges of an “offence against public health”, the most prominent is the suspected mastermind of the network, 57year-old doctor Eufemiano Fuentes. The other four are his sister Yolanda; former Liberty Seguros cycling team director Manolo Saiz; former Comunitat Valencia team chief Vicente Belda and his deputy, Jose Ignacio Labarta. Fuentes, in a dark suit and blue tie, and the other four defendants were swarmed by reporters as they arrived at the Madrid court for the start of the hearing, but made no public comment. Monday morning’s closed-door hearing dealt with procedural matters and judge Maria Santamaria then adjourned the trial until Tuesday morning, when Fuentes was due to be the first to testify. The five are charged with endangering public health rather than incitement to doping, which was not a crime at the time of the arrests. A Spanish anti-doping law was passed only in November 2006. The distinction between the two charges is pivotal. The prosecutor is seeking a two-year prison sentence plus a two-year professional ban for the

alleged generalised doping in the team and says he himself underwent transfusions of adulterated blood. The 30-year-old Contador, due to appear on February 5, was cleared of any involvement in the Puerto affair by a Spanish judge and the sport’s world governing body the International Cycling Union. In a separate case, Contador was later banned for two years after testing positive for the prohibited substance clenbuterol, which he blamed on a contaminated steak. A case against the Puerto network’s alleged blood expert, doctor Jose Luis Merino Batres, has been provisionally closed on the grounds that he has Alzheimer’s disease. Investigators listed 58 cyclists implicated in the scandal, although initial reports had implicated other athletes such as tennis players and footballers. Of those listed, only six have suffered spor ting sanctions: Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde, Germans Jan Ullrich and Joerg Jaksche and Italians Ivan Basso, Michele Scarponi and Giampaolo Caruso, who was later acquitted by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The investigating judge, Antonio Serrano, had closed the case on the grounds that the alleged acts of doping were not illegal at the time and that the small amounts of blood-booster EPO that were found did not constitute a health risk. The Madrid Provincial Courts obliged him to re-open the case. The trial is scheduled to last until March 22. — AFP

MONTREAL: The Montreal Canadiens handed the New Jersey Devils their first loss of the season when a red-hot Andrei Markov scored late in overtime to secure a 4-3 win on Sunday. Montreal squandered a 3-1 third period lead but Markov, who has a team-leading four goals, scored with 38 seconds left in overtime as the host Canadiens (3-1-0) extended their winning streak to three games. “I don’t know what to say,” Markov told reporters. “We knew it was going to be a challenge for us because we were playing against a good team, so we played hard and I’m happy we won the game.” For New Jersey (3-0-1), who made an inspired late run and got 28 saves from goalie Martin Brodeur, the loss was the first blemish to their record after opening the lockoutreduced season with three consecutive wins. Ryan White and Brendan Gallagher had put Montreal 2-0 up in the first before Brandon Prust made it 3-1 early in the third. New Jersey rallied behind third-period goals from David Clarkson and Dainius Zubrus before but their hopes of forcing a shootout were dashed in the closing seconds. The winning goal came after New Jersey’s Andy Greene was called for holding to set-up a Canadiens powerplay.

Rene Bourque misfired a shot but Markov reacted quickest and converted the winner. The Devils, losers of last season’s Stanley Cup finals, had not won the first three games of a season since the 2002-03 campaign.

Patrik Elias scored in the second period for New Jersey and added two assists to reach the 900-point mark for his career. “It’s a pretty cool accomplishment, but hopefully I’ll keep adding,” Elias said. — Reuters

NHL results/standings Washington 3, Buffalo 2; Pittsburgh 2, Ottawa 1 (SO); Montreal 4, New Jersey 3 (OT); Tampa Bay 5, Philadelphia 1; Chicago 2, Detroit 1 (OT); Winnipeg 5, NY Islanders 4 (OT); San Jose 4, Vancouver 1; St. Louis 5, Minnesota 4 (OT). Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OTL GF New Jersey 3 0 1 11 3 2 0 15 Pittsburgh NY Islanders 2 2 1 18 NY Rangers 2 3 0 14 Philadelphia 2 4 0 13 Northeast Division Boston 3 0 1 12 3 1 1 16 Ottawa Montreal 3 1 0 13 Buffalo 2 3 0 13 Toronto 2 3 0 14 Southeast Division Tampa Bay 4 1 0 24 3 1 1 15 Winnipeg Carolina 2 2 0 11 Washington 1 3 1 11 Florida 1 4 0 8

GA 7 14 18 16 18

PTS 7 6 5 4 4

8 10 7 15 17

7 7 6 4 4

13 14 13 19 19

8 7 4 3 2

Western Conference Central Division Chicago 6 0 0 22 13 12 5 1 0 24 13 10 St. Louis Nashville 1 1 3 10 14 5 Detroit 2 2 1 11 16 5 Columbus 1 3 1 9 18 3 Northwest Division Minnesota 2 2 1 13 15 5 2 2 1 14 16 5 Vancouver Colorado 2 2 0 9 9 4 Edmonton 2 2 0 11 13 4 Calgary 1 2 1 11 15 3 Pacific Division San Jose 5 0 0 23 8 10 3 1 0 15 14 6 Anaheim Dallas 2 2 1 11 12 5 Los Angeles 1 2 1 8 12 3 Phoenix 1 4 0 17 20 2 Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L)

MONACO: Vehicles are lined up at the start of the 16th edition of the Monte-Carlo Historic Rally in Monaco on Sunday. In keeping with tradition, competitors may choose their starting point from several cities, subject to numbers: Warsaw, Copenhagen, Glasgow, Rheims, Barcelona or Monte Carlo. — AFP



Djokovic sets sights on elusive French Open MELBOURNE: In years past, Novak Djokovic marked his victories at the Australian Open with rowdy late-night celebrations and bleary-eyed photo shoots the next morning in downtown Melbourne. This year’s win made history but inspired a more sober reaction. After beating Andy Murray to become the only man to win three consecutive Australian Open titles, the No. 1-ranked player didn’t feel the need to celebrate immediately. Instead, he booked an early Monday flight home to start preparing for his next challenge: the clay courts of Europe. The Serb has the Davis Cup next weekend and a few months away is the French Open - the one major that has eluded him. Djokovic now has six Grand Slam tournament trophies, four overall from the Australian Open and one each from Wimbledon and the US Open in 2011. He came close last year at Roland Garros, but lost in the final to clay-court

master Rafael Nadal. “Of course, I want to go all the way in the French Open,” Djokovic said at his postmatch news conference just after midnight. His goal for the year is a big one, he said, when asked if he would choose a Roland Garros title over his No. 1ranking. “I’ll take everything,” the 25-year-old Djokovic said. “I have no reason not to be confident in myself.” Djokovic never lacked self-confidence and his dominating performance at the Australian Open showed just why. The elite group Djokovic heads includes No. 2 Roger Federer, No. 3 Murray and Nadal, whose creaky knees caused him to sit out this tournament and yield his No. 4 ranking to David Ferrer. Djokovic beat Ferrer in an 89-minute semifinal he said he played “perfectly.” Federer, a 17-time Grand Slam-winner, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray have combined to win 33 of the past 34 majors. “I have a great feeling about

myself on the court at this moment,” Djokovic said after beating Ferrer. His 6-7 (2), 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-2 victory over Murray on Sunday night showed his mental toughness and supreme fitness in a match that contained riveting rallies between two of the best returners in the game. The win deprived Murray of his chance to capitalize on his breakthrough year in 2012, when he won an Olympic gold and his first major title at the US Open. “I’m full of joy right now,” Djokovic said. “It’s going to give me a lot of confidence for the rest of the season, that’s for sure.” The season resumes next weekend with Serbia’s Davis Cup tie against Belgium, which was why Djokovic flew home early so he could celebrate with the people closest to him. “In life you don’t get many opportunities to win Grand Slams. As a tennis player, that’s a pinnacle of the ambitions and of the success,” he said. “So I (will)

try to enjoy it for a few days with the people I love the most - family, friends and team.” Djokovic apologized to reporters for skipping yesterday’s traditional post-victory news conference. “The main reason is because I want to get to Europe as quick as possible so I can be ready for the Davis Cup tie,” said Djokovic, who led Serbia to its first and only Davis Cup title in 2010. “I hope I find your understanding for that.” After he wrapped up his media obligations, he went online at about 4:30 am to post a note of thanks to his fans. “My dear friends,” he wrote in a personal blog post that he also tweeted. “(I’m) laying in bed now and thinking ‘Novak, you are 4 times AO champion,’ That’s quite something, right? I will have to repeat it in my mind for a while to sink in.” “This is just the start of the year!” Djokovic wrote, ahead of catching his flight. “Plenty of things ahead of us, starting from tomorrow morning. ... Stay tuned.” — AP

Bartoli craving success on home soil in Paris PARIS: French number one Marion Bartoli is aiming to go one step further at this week’s Paris Open in her quest for a maiden title on home soil. Bartoli was defeated by Angelique Kerber in last year’s final-a result that served as a catalyst for the German’s breakthrough 2012 campaign. But even with Kerber not defending her crown this year, Bartoli, whose last of seven W TA titles came in Osaka in October 2011, was guarded in her expectations. “I don’t know if it’s a good year or not, it’s a loaded draw. There are still two other top 10 (women) in the field and lots of dangerous players,” she said. “ There is a long way to go before thinking about winning,” added Bartoli, the tournament’s third seed. The world number 11, who suffered a disappointing third-round exit against Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova at this month’s Australian Open, insisted the Grand Slam tournaments remained the focal points of her season but admitted success in the French capital also rated highly among her priorities. “I want to base my season around the Grand Slam tournaments with the hope of getting closer to the top five in the

world. But above all I would really like to win the title here because I want to play well in France.” Bartoli, who has a first-round bye, will face the winner between American Christina McHale and fellow Frenchwoman Pauline Parmentier in her opening match. Meanwhile, the event’s top seed Sara Errani of Italy will be seeking to ignite her 2013 campaign after crashing out at the first hurdle in Melbourne. The world’s seventh ranked player, a finalist at the 2012 French Open, faces a qualifier in her first match. The 2011 champion Petra Kvitova is the tournament’s second seed. The 22-year-old Czech has achieved middling success since her maiden Wimbledon crown two years ago, a second-round defeat in Australia to Britain’s Laura Robson a fortnight ago offering an insight into her inconsistency of late. Seven-time Grand Slam singles champion Venus Williams-a winner at the Paris Open 11 years ago-was a late withdrawal from the competition due to a back injury with 2010 Roland Garros queen Francesca Schiavone handed a wild-card entry as a replacement. — AFP

MELBOURNE: Sri Lankan wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal (L) attempts to runout Australian batsman George Bailey (R) during their Twenty20 match played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), yesterday. — AFP

S Lanka clinch rain-marred thriller to win series 2-0

PARIS: Italia’s pair Sara Errani (bottom) and Roberta Vinci returns the ball to France’s pair Alize Cornet and Kristina Mladenovic during the 21st Paris Open, part of the WTA tournament, yesterday at the Pierre de Coubertin stadium in Paris. — AFP

‘Drug testing inadequate’ MELBOURNE: Novak Djokovic’s cheque for winning the Australian Open on Sunday was more than the entire annual budget for anti-doping in tennis, a programme many feel is woefully inadequate. Djokovic and Andy Murray left Melbourne yesterday with a combined $3.8 million in their pockets for their efforts over the past fortnight. The total funding for the 2013 anti-doping programme stands at $2 million, paid for by the four grand slams, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and ATP and WTA Tours. The cost includes $400,000 for the administration of the programme, paid for by the ITF. Many players, including Djokovic and Murray, have called for more blood tests to ensure there is no cheating. Of the 2,150 tests carried out by the ITF in 2011, the last set of figures available, 131 were blood tests and only 21 were out of competition. Blood tests accounted for between three and six percent of all tests in tennis in 2011, compared to 35 percent in cycling and 17.6 percent in athletics. “I would struggle to know if there is any other sport where their drug-testing programme has gone backwards in recent years,” said Darren Cahill, who coached Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi to the world number one spot. Following Lance Armstrong’s confession that he took drugs in all seven of his Tour de France cycling wins, tennis has come in for greater scrutiny with regards to doping. “You get blood tested at the slams, usually after you lose, but I’ve never been blood tested out of competition,” said American Mike Bryan, who won a record 13th grand slam title together with twin brother Bob Bryan in the men’s doubles on Saturday. Bryan told Reuters he is probably tested around 20 times a year, but out-ofcompetition, through the whereabouts programme, it has only ever been urine tests. Urine tests can detect many drugs,

including EPO, one of several taken by Armstrong and other leading cyclists but only blood tests can detect HGH, human growth hormone. John Fahey, the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, said tennis has an “effective anti-doping programme” but that more should be done. “If there are insufficient blood samples being taken then athletes will become aware of that and make it the drug of their choice because they know the sport does not pay attention to blood testing,” Fahey told Reuters by telephone. “I would like to see a compulsory percentage of all tests being blood to make sure that some of these areas are not slipping through the loop. “There has been a propensity to draw back on blood testing across the board. I will be pushing to have that altered by way of mandatory blood testing provisions in the amended code that will be signed off in November this year at our world conference. “Another worry is that sometimes when they take a urine sample they do not tell the laboratory to analyse it for everything. “EPO, which was the drug of choice, was not being tested for to keep the costs down. I believe that we need to change that.” Bryan said if players have any evidence their rivals are cheating, they have an obligation to tell the authorities. “You’d rat them out,” he told Reuters. “It’s like the honour code; you have to. You just don’t want to get caught up in a whole scandal like that. You want to do the right thing, even if it’s your friend. If it was my brother, I’d probably rat my brother out.” Between the grand slams, the ATP Tour, WTA Tour and ITF circuits, tennis pays out at least $300 million in prize money, while installing and running the Hawk-Eye challenge system costs tournaments between $50,000 and $60,000 per court. Cahill said the increasing revenue created by the sport globally means that more should be invested in the programme. —Reuters

MELBOURNE: Sri Lanka won an ill-tempered and rain-shortened final T20 international against Australia off the last ball at the MCG yesterday. Angry words were exchanged as the two sides walked off, with Sri Lanka winning by two runs under the Duckworth-Lewis method. The tourists scored 161 for four wickets off their 20 overs but a shower which interrupted the home side’s innings reduced the match by five overs. That left Australia with a revised victory target of 122 off 15 overs-meaning they needed 62 more off 30 balls with eight wickets in hand as play resumed after the rain. The hosts finished on 119 for three after a tense final over which began with them needing 18 for victory. Skipper George Bailey was caught for 45 off 36 balls with 16 more needed from the final four. All-rounder Glenn Maxwell came in, requiring 12 runs off the last three, and smashed consecutive fours off Thisara Perera. However the bowler recovered his composure to control the last delivery after lengthy consultations with teammates. The time taken to bowl that last ball sparked some ugly on-field exchanges and ex-skipper Mahela Jayawardene was in the thick of it before Bailey restored some calm. Jayawardene had earlier cracked an unbeaten 61 from 45 balls in a well-built innings. He came in with the tourists in trouble on just 39

SCOREBOARD MELBOURNE: Scoreboard from the second and final Twenty20 International match between Australia and Sri Lanka at the Melbourne Cricket Ground yesterday: Sri Lanka: T. Dilshan b Faulkner 6 K. Perera c Bailey b Maxwell 15 D. Chandimal c Bailey b Laughlin 5 M. Jayawardene not out 61 J. Mendis c Faulkner b Doherty 25 T. Perera not out 35 Extras (b-1, lb-8, w-5) 14 Total (For 4 wickets in 20 overs) 161 Did not bat: A. Mathews, N. Kulasekara, A. Mendis, L. Malinga, A. Dananjaya. Fall of wickets: 1-15 2-33 3-39 4-102. Bowling: Maxwell 4-0-23-1(w-1), Starc 4-0-350(w-4), Faulkner 4-0-24-1, Laughlin 4-0-40-1, Doherty 4-0-30-1. after Australia had snared three early wickets by the seventh over. But Jayawardene opened up in the final overs, striking two sixes and five fours. He was ably assisted by the big-hitting Perera, who plundered 35 off just 15 balls. The pair took 20 runs off the last over. Australia, a young side building for the future

Australia: D. Warner c T. Perera b Kulasekara 7 A. Finch lbw b A. Mendis 7 S. Marsh not out 47 G. Bailey c K. Perera b T. Perera 45 G. Maxwell not out 8 Extras (b-1, lb-2, w-1, nb-1) 5 Total (For 3 wickets in 15 overs) 119 Did not bat: M. Wade, A. Voges, J. Faulkner, M. Starc, X. Doherty, B. Laughlin. Fall of wickets: 1-10 2-20 3-106. Bowling: Dilshan 2-0-10-0, Kulasekara 3-0-181(w-1), A. Mendis 3-0-25-1, Malinga 3-0-26-0, Dananjaya 1-0-12-0, T. Perera 3-0-25-1(nb-1). Sri Lanka won by three runs under Duckworth-Lewis method. and facing the world’s top T20 outfit, also lost early wickets. David Warner fell for seven and Aaron Finch went for the same score in the fifth over. The tourists won the first match by five wickets at the Sydney Olympic Stadium on Saturday night. Sri Lanka and Australia drew the one-day series 2-2 after Australia swept the Tests 3-0. — AFP

Gulf Bank maintains Lead in KBC League KUWAIT: The Gulf Bank maintained its position at the top of the KBC League standings after defeating the Warba Bank in week three of the tournament that is organized by the Kuwait Banks Club featuring teams representing local banks.

The Gulf Bank’s 2-0 victory gives it nine points at the end of week three, followed by the Kuwait Finance House who would be looking for their third straight victory when they go against the International Bank of Kuwait today (Tuesday).

Meanwhile, the National Bank of Kuwait maintained its third place by defeating Al-Ahli Bank 1-0. Week three competitions conclude tomorrow ( Wednesday) with a match between the Commercial Bank of Kuwait and Al-Ahli United Bank.



Ravens and 49ers get Super Bowl week under way NEW ORLEANS: The Baltimore Ravens will fly into New Orleans on Monday to join Super Bowl rivals the San Francisco 49ers as the week-long build-up to America’s biggest and most celebrated game gets fully under way. The Harbaugh brothers, 49ers coach Jim and Ravens boss John, have five straight days of media conferences ahead of them, including a joint session on Friday as the NFL and an insatiable sports media takes full advantage of the fascination with the pair. The 49ers jetted the 1,900 miles (3,000 kilometers) from San Francisco to the ‘Big Easy’ on Sunday

with their coach insisting that they were going to attempt to prepare themselves as if it were just another game rather than the most hyped event in US sport. “We try to make it like a normal week. We are in the city starting Monday like it is the week leading up to a Sunday game, that’s our plan,” said Jim Harbaugh on arrival. “Our team enjoys the practice, the meetings and especially the competition. We will be gearing up for the competition of a championship game,” he added. His brother, John, said his aim for the Ravens was to keep the focus firmly on the work at hand. “You better be improving right up to the last

breath you take. That is the number one thing. The other thing is it is about football. It’s not about anything other than that, and we try to keep it simple, keep that focus on where it belongs and keep it about the important things,” he said. Both teams are staying in hotels in central New Orleans which is expected to have a full Mardi Gras atmosphere as game time draws closer. The 49ers, one of American football’s most successful franchises, will be making their first appearance in the Super Bowl in 18 years. They have never lost an NFL title game and if they maintain their perfect record they will tie the

Pittsburgh Steelers’ record of six championships. The Niners have second year Colin Kaepernick making just his 10th professional start at quarterback after replacing Alex Smith midway through the season. Baltimore, riding high on a wave of emotion from linebacker Ray Lewis who is heading into retirement, upset the New England Patriots to reach the Super Bowl for just the second time, thanks to some inspired play from quarterback Joe Flacco. The Ravens were established two years after San Francisco’s last Super Bowl triumph and won their solitary title game beating the New York Giants at the end of the 2000 season. — Reuters

Furman’s special day as club win, country qualify DURBAN: Oldham captain Dean Furman enjoyed a red-letter day at the weekend, with his club toppling Liverpool in the FA Cup and South Africa qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals. The Cape Town-born defensive midfielder had chosen country over club and was part of the 2013 Nations Cup hosts’ side that came from behind twice to draw 2-2 with Morocco in Durban on Sunday to seal top spot in Group A. That puts Bafana Bafana on a collision course with the Group B runners-up, back in Durban on Saturday, South Africa’s first appearance in the last eight in 11 years. Hopes are building in this Indian Ocean city that Furman and his national teammates can emulate the class of ‘96, which went all the way to lift the continental showcase the last time it was staged on home soil. While the 24-year-old was turning out at Moses Mabhida Stadium, 13,000 kilometres away in England his third-tier side were per forming heroics against Liverpool, beating the Premier League outfit 3-2 in the FA Cup. Currently 19th in League One, Oldham are 56 places below Liverpool in the English league pyramid and join Millwall, non-league Luton Town, Milton Keynes Dons and Leeds United as fourthround giant-killers. Furman, whose father is a dentist, cut his footballing teeth at Chelsea’s youth

academy, and joined his present League One outfit after spells with Bradford and Rangers. He is relishing his experience at this Nations Cup, were on Sunday he earned his eighth cap, and was voted man of the match after helping to engineer South Africa’s 2-0 win over Angola last week which set them fair for the knockout stages. “Obviously, we have our fans at Oldham, but this is on another level. The fans are really passionate and if we can just give a little bit back that would be great as well,” he told the South African media. Furman, who was not chosen for South Africa’s first game against fellow qualifiers Cape Verde, added: “I might not have the skills of some of the boys, but I like to think what I have helps the more flamboyant players get on the ball.” He says he has taken time to get used to the African tradition of singing and dancing in the changing rooms. “On my first trip to Brazil I was right on the outside looking in, and now I’m trying to learn a few words and join in. “At Oldham, we’ve got the big iPod thing now where everyone’s got headphones on and tries to get in his zone, whereas here, with all their singing and dancing, the boys get in rhythm together and it lifts everyone.” He believes the sky is the limit now for South Africa, declaring: “Once you’re in knockout foootball, anything is possible.” — AFP

Juve refereeing rant condemned by rivals MILAN: Champions Juventus were handed a series of bans and fines by Serie A league officials yesterday for displaying aggressive behaviour to a match referee who refused to award a late penalty. Juve coach Antonio Conte was handed a two-game touchline ban and handed a 10,000 euro fine while the club was fined 50,000 euros for failing to control fans who spat on and lashed out at the match officials. Juve president Giuseppe Marotta was also banned from carrying out any of his functions until February 18. Defenders Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, meanwhile, were handed two and one -game bans respectivel,y accompanied by fines of 10,000 and 5,000 euros. Both sanctions related to their aggressive behaviour towards the referee at the end of the match. A statement by Serie A’s disciplinary body said: “Juventus are fined 50,000 euros for failing to control fans who spat in the faces and on the clothes of officials as they left the pitch.” Regarding Conte’s ban, it added: “Conte is banned for two matches for having confronted the referee in an intimidatory manner on the field of play and questioning his decision with a series of derogatory remarks.”

Conte and the entire Juventus team were in uproar at the end of Saturday’s match after referee Marco Giuda refused to award a last-minute penalty despite the ball coming off the arm of Genoa’s Swedish defender Andreas Granqvist. The match finished 1-1 and although the Bianconeri are still top of the league with a three-point lead on Napoli, the champions have refused to calm the tone of their criticism of Guida. On Juventus’s official website on Sunday Marotta hit out at the fact the referee originates from near Naples. “Making him officiate Juve isn’t putting him in the best possible conditions. Furthermore, I ask myself what is the point of having six officials if the referee and goal-line official are not on the same wavelength?” he said. Marotta was effectively suspended from his role as Juve president until February 18 for “challenging, at the end of the match, the match officials in an intimidating and insulting manner, in their dressing room.” Conte and Bonucci will now sit out the next two Serie A games, away to Chievo next week and at home to Fiorentina on February 9, while Chiellini will miss the first of those games. — AFP

PALMA DE MALLORCA: Malaga’s Portuguese midfielder Eliseu (L) vies with Mallorca’s forward Emilio Nsue during the Spanish league football match Mallorca vs Malaga on Sunday at the Iberostar stadium in Palma de Mallorca. — AFP

HONOLULU: The musical group Train entertains the crowd during the pre game show of the NFL Pro Bowl football game in Honolulu, yesterday. — AP

NFC blows out AFC 62-35 in Pro Bowl in Hawaii HONOLULU: A handful of shenanigans and plenty of points - yet still another ho-hum Pro Bowl. Whether the NFL’s all-star game will return next season is something the league will ponder the next few months after the NFC’s 62-35 blowout of the AFC on Sunday. “It’s been an unbelievable week,” Seattle rookie quarterback Russell Wilson said, “And the thing was, if you watched us, everybody was competing today and it was really awesome.” Wilson at least got the crowd pumped up in the second half with some nifty scrambles and three passing touchdowns. There was also Houston’s sack-happy defensive end J.J. Watt going out for a couple of passes as a wide receiver, and retiring Green Bay center Jeff Saturday snapping to two Mannings on opposite teams. But while the NFC appeared unstoppable on offense, with nearly each player putting up fantasy-worthy lines in limited play, the AFC had five turnovers and scored most of its points well after the game was no longer competitive. Minnesota tight end Kyle Rudolph was voted the game’s MVP with five catches for 122 yards and a touchdown. “Guys were competing, guys wanted to win and guys want to keep the game here,” Rudolph insisted. “That was the point before the game. We want to keep this game rolling for future Pro Bowlers.” Watt, who had 20 1/2 sacks for Houston, lined up as a wide receiver on the AFC’s third play from scrimmage, but missed a pass from Denver quarterback Peyton Manning. He was targeted one

more time, but didn’t make a catch. He later showed a television camera a bloody left pinkie, joking with NBC broadcasters that it was proof that the players were trying. “Hey, Commish, we’re playing hard,” Watt said as he showed his finger. Roger Goodell has said the Pro Bowl won’t be played again if play didn’t improve this year. Last year, fans in Hawaii booed as lineman were clearly not trying. On one play in that game, Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen did a barrel roll to switch positions with a teammate. If players were coasting this time around, it was less obvious. The AFC just played poorly. And fans didn’t boo much - the stands were relatively empty even though the game sold enough tickets to lift a local television blackout. The game was trending on Twitter in the United States early on, but quickly gave way to the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the WWE Royal Rumble. Saturday, retiring at the end of this season, played for both teams, though he came representing the NFC. He lined up on one play for the AFC to snap the ball one last time to Manning, his longtime former Colts teammate. Saturday said it meant a lot to him that the Broncos quarterback, whom Saturday called a true friend, orchestrated the stunt. “He’s got a little more pull than I got,” Saturday said. “He got it all set up and timed up for me, so it was really nice of him to do that.” Saturday played 13 seasons in Indianapolis, all with Manning - except 2011, when Manning was

out with a neck injury. Saturday then played later in the game for the NFC, snapping to Peyton’s brother, Giants quarterback Eli Manning. Saturday’s last play on the field was a passing touchdown by Eli Manning.Peyton Manning said it was nice for the NFL to allow the play to happen. “It’s something that I’ll always remember,” he said, “that he’ll always remember to kind of get that one, final snap together after the thousands that we’ve taken together.” Even as the NFC piled up touchdowns, the game struggled for memorable moments after Saturday’s momentary switch. In the second quarter, referee Ed Hochuli drew cheers when announcing a pass interference penalty on Denver cornerback Champ Bailey in the second quarter - the first flag of the game. “Yes, there are penalties in the Pro Bowl,” Hochuli said, drawing laughs and loud cheers. Giants wideout Victor Cruz broke a Pro Bowl record with 10 catches. Tampa Bay receiver Vincent Jackson had 91 yards and two touchdowns. Eli Manning threw for 191 yards and two touchdowns. Cincinnati’s A.J. Green had three TD catches for the AFC. NFL officials said earlier in the week that the league wants to decide the future of the Pro Bowl by the time next season’s schedule is released in April. “We understood exactly what (Goodell) wanted, guys were making plays all over the field,” Cruz said. “There was a little bit more high intensity than in years past and we were excited to play.” — AP

Bayern boss demands more despite lead BERLIN: Although Bayern Munich’s 2-0 win at VfB Stuttgart opened an 11-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga on Sunday, director of sport Matthias Sammer still wants the side to raise their game. After an unimpressive first-half display, Bayern roared back with Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic capitalising on a mistake in the Stuttgart defence for the first goal before setting up Thomas Mueller for the second. But having watched his team labour to a 20 win in Munich the week before against bottom side Greuther Fuerth, Sammer said Bayern must do more. “We have to get into our rhythm as quickly as possible,” said Sammer. “As we were against Greuther Fuerth, we were good, but ‘good’ just won’t cut it for the rest of the season.” While Sammer’s comments may seem harsh after two ultimately convincing wins, Bayern have some tough games ahead at Mainz and Wolfsburg, sandwiched between a home game against Schalke 04, before they play Arsenal in the Champions League. Coach Jupp Heynckes said he was happy with the second-half display after some harsh words during the break. “We played much better than against Fuerth,” said the 67-yearold, who will step down at the end of the season to be replaced by ex-Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola. “In the first half we lacked a bit of wit, perseverance and determination in our final pass. “I complained in the break and we went up a gear in the second half when Stuttgart started making errors.” Having won all eight of their opening league games, Bayern set another Bundesliga record in Stuttgart for having conceded just seven goals in their first 19 matches. Goalscorer Mueller said the Bavarians need to

learn to be patient against defence-minded teams eager to contain Bayern’s star-studded attack. “We need to get used to not always leading 3-0 at half-time, a football match lasts longer and we need to be patient,” he said. “We punished their mistakes by going 2-0 up.” Stuttgart had Austria striker Martin Harnik sent off for the last 10 minutes for a second

yellow card after his frustration got the better of him and he clattered into Franck Ribery’s ankle after the ball had gone. “Of course, Bayern had more ball possesion and dominated,” said Stuttgart’s Christian Gentner. “ We made simple mistakes at crucial moments, which are punished when you play Bayern Munich.” — AFP

MENDOZA: Colombia’s midfielder Juan Quintero (R) kicks the ball to score past Peru’s goalkeeper Angelo Campos during their South American U-20 final round football match at Malvinas Argentinas stadium in Mendoza, Argentina, on Sunday. Four South American teams will qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Turkey 2013. — AFP



FA Cup remains in doldrums despite weekend of shocks LONDON: The romance of the FA Cup was rekindled on a weekend when soccer’s goliaths had never looked so vulnerable but the string of top-flight second XIs who fell or stumbled said much about where the competition now ranks. Staid and predictable and in danger of becoming little more than a sideshow, the FA Cup was given the equivalent of life -saving surgery as Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Norwich City, Queens Park Rangers and Aston Villa were dumped out by lower league clubs. Those who fell, however, made wholesale changes, choosing to rest top players and blood inexperienced youngsters with important midweek Premier League games uppermost in the minds of under-pressure managers. QPR boss Harry Redknapp described the 4-2 defeat by third-tier Milton Keynes Dons as “disgusting” but he retained only two players from the side that drew with West Ham United the weekend before. Perhaps making a point to the club’s powerbrokers about the paucity of his squad, Redknapp

clearly chose to prioritise their fight to avoid relegation. Norwich’s elimination was less excusable. The Canaries enjoy the relative comfort of a seven-point cushion over the bottom three but still made six changes against Luton Town before becoming the first top-flight side in 24 years to lose to a minor league club. The reality of the modern English game is the Premier League and Champions League are financial behemoths and clubs are less interested in silverware than keeping their noses in the money trough. If top-flight survival is threatened or there is even an outside chance of reaching the promised land of a top-four place and Champions League qualification, then the FA Cup takes a back seat. Liverpool reached the FA Cup final and won its poorer sibling, the League Cup, last season but still sacked manager Kenny Dalglish after their stumbling league form ended in an eighth-place finish. Dalglish was later quoted as saying that not even an FA Cup victory would have kept him in his job. It was perhaps with those words ringing in his ears that Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers

made five changes to his side at third-tier Oldham Athletic on Sunday including dropping captain Steven Gerrard to the bench. Liverpool were roughed up 3-2 by Oldham in a defeat that hinted at the fact that cultured Premier League sides had forgotten how to deal with the old-fashioned high ball into the box, part of the staple diet of lower division clubs. Rodgers then chose to point the finger at those he had drafted in. “I was disappointed with the young players. We’re trying to give them experience and let them see what it’s like to play for Liverpool,” he told reporters. Liverpool are seventh in the league but it seems the outside chance they have of finishing in the top four made changes inevitable. It is unlikely that 22-year-old centre back Sebastian Coates or 19-year-old full back Jack Robinson will be retained when Liverpool get back to league business against Arsenal on Wednesday. The seven-times FA Cup winners were not alone in concentrating on their Champions League potential. Tottenham made five alterations for a 2-1 defeat

at second-tier Leeds United while Chelsea also changed five players as they twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at third-tier Brentford. Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson said the world’s oldest knockout competition was now just a shop window for players on the fringes of squads, an opportunity for individualism to replace the team ethic embraced by lower league giantkillers. The former Ireland international also suggested the FA Cup had lost its lustre for players used to Premier League luxury. “What a sad sign of the times it is that the wages in the Premier League are so fantastic that for many players top-flight football is the be-all and end-all,” he wrote in the Daily Mirror. “The brutal truth is the FA Cup for some players has gone down the scale in terms of competitions they want to do well in.” A drastic solution such as giving the winners o n e o f t h e fo u r C h a m p i o n s Le a g u e p l a c e s would undoubtedly encourage teams to place m o re e m p h a s i s o n t h e c o m p e t i t i o n i n t h e future. — Reuters

PSG ride luck to return to summit PARIS: Paris Saint Germain rode their luck to wrest back top spot in the French league from Lyon on Sunday - an own goal from Cameroon defender Aurelien Chedjou enough to land three points against Lille at Parc des Princes. Chedjou was the villain of the piece for the visitors, who might easily have taken a point had he not deflected home a loose ball after Lille keeper Steeve Elana parried a cross from Ezequiel Lavezzi midway through the second half. Carlo Ancelotti’s men could have had more goals as Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic hit the post with a sweetlystruck effort while another effort from the same player stretched Elana. But Lille also had cause to feel hard done before the break as Ronny Rodelin appeared to have opened the scoring from a corner kick - only for colleague Nolan Roux to be given offside. Television replays suggested the referee’s call was harsh as PSG survived to stand clear of Lyon on goal difference with both clubs on 45 points from 22 games, three ahead of Marseille, held 22 on Saturday by Rennes. After Tulio de Melo had hit the woodwork in another scare for the home fans PSG held out, which was a boon for Italian keeper Salvatore Sirigu, who during the game set a club-record of minutes without conceding a Ligue 1 goal. After the opening 12 minutes, Sirigu passed the mark of 697 minutes set by former France international shot-stopper Bernard Lama back in 1996 and his clean sheet stretched the record by another 78 minutes. Sirigu last conceded a goal in the 35th minute of a November 17 loss to Rennes and he has since kept his net clean seven times. The overall French record belongs to former Bordeaux keeper Gaetan Huard, who in 1993 was unbeaten for 1176 minutes - more than 13 matches. “It was tough right to the final whistle,” said Sirigu. “We got a lucky

goal then defended well,” he told Canal Plus television. Coach Carlo Ancelotti said PSG gave away far too much possession. “We didn’t have things well under control. We were lucky, that’s a fact. But there were many other times when we didn’t have that luck. I am happy as you can’t always turn in a fantastic showing but you must be solid and the main thing is to win.” Elsewhere, Bordeaux scored a 1-0 win at Nice to overhaul their hosts in taking fifth spot with Henri Saivet on target. Earlier Sunday, former French giants Saint Etienne kept their hopes of qualifying for Europe next season alive with an easy 3-0 win over Bastia. After losing ground in December when they hit something of a goal drought, Saint Etienne got their season back on track by taking an early lead through Brazilian Brandao after just nine minutes. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and substitute Josuah Guilavogui rounded things off to leave Les Verts seventh, a point behind Bordeaux and Nice. On Friday, Lyon shrugged off a constant stream of transfer speculation surrounding key players and a difficult start to the New Year on the pitch by going to Valenciennes and winning 2-0 courtesy of goals by Gueida Fofana and Bafetimbi Gomis. Marseille were then frustrated Saturday by Rennes in an entertaining contest. OM led at the interval thanks to a strike from Ghana star Andre Ayew. However, they were pegged back just before the hour mark when defender Kevin Theophile-Catherine powerfully headed home a right-wing corner. Ayew’s brother Jordan put Marseille back in front with just seven minutes remaining after Morgan Amalfitano sent in a tantalising cross but in the 88th minute, Rennes rescued the point they deserved through Romain Alessandrini’s header which left his side fourth. — AFP

PARIS: Lille’s French defender Dijbril Sidibe (C) vies with Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian defender Maxwwell (L) and Paris Saint-Germain’s Argentinian midfielder Javier Pastore (R) during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint Germain vs Lille on Sunday at the Parc-des-Princes stadium in Paris. — AFP

BILBAO: Athletic Bilbao’s midfielder Markel Susaeta (R) vies with Atletico Madrid’s Brazilian forward Diego da Silva Costa (L) during the Spanish league football match Athletic Bilbao vs Atletico Madrid at San Mames stadium in Bilbao, on Sunday. — AFP

Schalke’s Lewis Holtby completes Spurs move LONDON: Germany Under-21 captain Lewis Holtby yesterday quit Bundesliga side Schalke 04 to join Premier League team Tottenham Hotspur, the north London club confirmed. “We are delighted to announce that we have reached agreement with Schalke for the immediate transfer of Lewis Holtby,” Spurs said in a statement. With his Schalke contract to expire in June, the 22-year-old had already committed to joining Spurs for next season having signed until 2018, but the two clubs have agreed a deal to take the midfielder to England immediately. Schalke’s general manager Horst Heldt met Spurs chairman Daniel Levy in London over the weekend to finalise the transfer which is reported to be worth 1.75 million euros (£1.50 million, US$2.35m). “We have found the best solution for all parties,” Heldt said yesterday. “Lewis had signalled to us that he wasn’t against going earlier and Schalke 04 has received a decent transfer fee.” Holtby’s replacement, 29-year-old Brazil midfielder Bastos, will undergo a medical check in Gelsenkirchen yesterday and is set to join on loan from French first division side Lyon with an option to buy, according to German daily Bild. Schalke face Turkey’s Galatasaray in the Champions League’s last 16 on February 20 in Istanbul and are currently sixth in the Bundesliga. So far this term Holtby has scored four goals in 27 appearances for Schalke. He joined Schalke in 2009 from Alemannia Aachen and was loaned out to Bochum and Mainz prior to making his breakthrough with the Gelsenkirchen-based club. In his professional career, Holtby has scored 29 goals in 160 appearances.Reports in Britain said Holtby will move to London from Germany at the weekend, ruling

him out of Tottenham’s matches against Norwich and West Brom on Wednesday and Sunday respectively. Tottenham, knocked out of the FA Cup by second-tier Leeds on Sunday, are currently fourth in the Premier League and pushing for a place in next season’s Champions League. Holtby was born in Erkelenz near Cologne to an English father, Christopher, who was serving in

the British Army, and a German mother. Speaking after he had agreed to sign at the end of the season, Holtby said: “Tottenham are a top club and I’m fulfilling my dream. “Negotiations with Schalke were initially advanced, but then I looked over it all carefully again. I have spoken to (Tottenham manager) Andre Villas-Boas and I am confident in his plans.” —AFP

GELSENKIRCHEN: In this file picture Schalke’s Lewis Holtby kicks the ball during the German first division Bundesliga soccer match between Schalke 04 and FC Augsburg in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Schalke said yesterday Lewis Holtby will move to Premier League club Tottenham immediately after it agreed with the Germany midfielder to move forward his transfer. —AP

Arsenal hosts Liverpool, targets fourth place LONDON: Once Premier League heavyweights and regular title contenders, Arsenal and Liverpool are struggling to even secure the minimum achievement of qualifying for the Champions League ahead of their meeting at Emirates Stadium tomorrow. Both teams have been left behind in recent years because of the continued excellence of Manchester United and the rise to prominence of big-spending Manchester City and Chelsea. That trio is fighting for the title once again this season, leaving fourth place - and the final Champions League spot - as the best Arsenal and Liverpool can realistically hope for with 15 matches remaining. Liverpool can move level on points with sixth-place Arsenal by winning at the Emirates for the second straight season and start making amends for the team’s humiliating FA Cup loss to third-tier club Oldham on Sunday. “Everyone in the dressing room is completely devastated,” Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen said. “It’s the worst feeling in football. It hurts and I feel sorry for the fans.” Arsenal scraped past second-tier club Brighton 3-2 on

Saturday to avoid joining the glut of Premier League teams to be humbled by lower-league opposition in the FA Cup this weekend. Olivier Giroud scored twice that game, adding to his double against West Ham in Arsenal’s 5-1 win last Wednesday. With his tally now up to 13 for the season, the tall France striker is slowly beginning to find his feet in English football after his move from Montpellier. “He could have played 20 years ago in England, he could played 10 years ago in England and he can play today, because he has everything you need to play center forward,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said of a striker who is being described as a typically English No. 9. “He has great physical presence. Usually we go more for mobile players who are just on the move but he gives us something different.” Fourth-place Tottenham and fifth-place Everton are currently blocking the path of their city rivals to the Champions League positions, a reversal compared to recent seasons. Tottenham visits Norwich and Everton is at home to West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday. After routine FA Cups wins, the Manchester clubs

resume their title fight with games against teams that are battling against relegation. With United hosting Southampton on Wednesday, City has a chance to pile the pressure on the leaders and briefly cut their advantage to two points by beating Queens Park Rangers on Tuesday. Speculation about the future of City striker Mario Balotelli refuses to go away with only four days remaining in the January transfer window. The Italy international is being heavily linked with AC Milan and City assistant manager David Platt didn’t sound entirely convincing Monday in saying Balotelli was staying put. “As far as we are concerned, I think he is still a Manchester City player,” Platt said. “I don’t think . anything is going to happen.” City will be without captain Vincent Kompany, who hurt his right calf in the 1-0 win at Stoke in the FA Cup on Saturday and could be sidelined for two weeks. United hasn’t lost in the league since Nov. 17 and with its forward line of Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez all in the goals in recent matches, Alex Ferguson’s team has a relentless look to them.

“All of the people should know we can win (the FA Cup), as well as the title and Champions League,” Hernandez said. “We want to win all three, we want to win the treble. That is in our minds.” The biggest match at the bottom of the standings sees Aston Villa host Newcastle on Wednesday, with both teams in free fall and hovering just above the relegation zone. Villa is particularly struggling, having picked up only two points from its last six games and reeling after backto-back cup losses to fourth-tier club Bradford (League Cup semifinals) and second-tier team Millwall (FA Cup) in four days. “There’s no chance I’d walk away from it,” said Villa manager Paul Lambert, who has received the backing of Randy Lerner, the club’s American owner. “You have to fight like anything to get up. You pick yourself up and there’s no point in lying down and accepting it.” Also Wednesday, third-from-last Reading hosts Chelsea, which is 11 points behind United, while Fulham hosts West Ham. Today, it’s Stoke vs. Wigan and Sunderland vs. Swansea. — AP

S Lanka clinch rain-marred thriller to win series 2-0



Schalke’s Lewis Holtby completes Spurs move


NFC blows out AFC 62-35 in Pro Bowl in Hawaii

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PORT ELIZABERTH: Ghana’s Albert Adomah, right, looks back after kicking the ball against Niger Dankwa Kofi, left, during their African Cup of Nations Group B soccer match in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, yesterday. — AP

Black Stars shine to reach last eight Mali recover to hold Congo and qualify PORT ELIZABETH: Ghana qualified in style for the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations with a convincing 3-0 win over Niger here yesterday. The Black Stars thus finished top of Group B with seven points from three matches and will be joined by Mali, who were second on four points, in the knockout stage of the competition. Ghana posted a master-class display and took their chances very well, while Niger lacked ideas going forward. Skipper Asamoah Gyan opened his Nations Cup account with a well-taken strike after just six minutes. He combined well with Albert Adomah before he drove through from the left to fire right-footed past Daouda Kassaly in the Niger goal. Ghana doubled their advantage on 23 minutes with a well-worked goal, which was initiated by Christian Atsu and also finished by the exciting FC Porto ace. Atsu, in for the suspended Mubarak Wakaso, combined with Gyan before he finished off the move coolly with a clever tapin. The enterprising Badu would have made it 30 four minutes from the interval, but he was denied by Kassaly, who clutched his shot from inside the goal area. However, John Boye rammed home a rebound in the 49th minute for Ghana’s third

after Kassaly could not hold on to a powerful header by Gyan. Gyan could have compounded Niger’s misery in the 63rd minute but he failed to get hold of a high cross right inside the box when face-to-face with goalkeeper Kassaly. Niger did have their moments, though. Moussa Maazou’s low cross from the right after two minutes was cleared into the side-netting by defender Isaac Vorsah. In the ninth minute, Rennes defender Boye had to double up to stop hard-running Sidibe Modibo from causing havoc from a Boubacar Talatou low drive. And from the resulting corner, Niger put the ball in the net through Ghana-born Kofi Dankwa, but Maazou was adjudged to have fouled the goalkeeper. Another Maazou low cross was too hard and too long for Modibo to get a foot to as it beat the entire Black Stars defence. In the 55th minute, Maazou failed to direct his header at goal and moments later, he delivered another low drive, which beat both Modibo and his Ghana markers. Issiakou Koudize also let fly from the top of the box in the 57th minute but his effort missed target. Substitute Issoufou Boubacar forced a fine save from Abul-Fatawu Dauda in the 76th minute with a curling shot from the left.

We’re ready for giants, say Africa Cup upstarts PORT ELIZABETH: Unfancied Cape Verde say they are ready for the big teams at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations after reaching the quarter-finals on their debut. The Blue Sharks, best known for dumping mighty Cameroon to qualify for this tournament, dramatically edged Angola 2-1 Sunday to advance to the last eight of the competition as Group A runners-up behind South Africa. While the Cape Verdeans prepare for the round of eight, Angola and former champions Morocco are heading home. Cape Verde face the winners of Group B-probably Ghanaon February 2 at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in this Indian Ocean city. “The strongest team in Group B is Ghana and we will probably meet them in the quarter-finals,” said an emotional coach Lucio Antunes, who sang a traditional song as his jubilant squad joined in at a press conference. “We are ready and happy to play against them because they are one of the best sides in Africa and at this stage of the competition we have to come up against such teams. “We will keep working well to try and win the next game.” Vastly experienced skipper

Nando put through his own goal against Angola on Sunday before the Blue Sharks rallied to win 2-1 through goals from Fernando Varela and Heldon. “Emotions are really high, but we hope to continue to take this tournament step by step because we wish to go as far as possible,” said centre-back Guy Ramos. The Netherlands-based defender said the footballers representing 10 islands off the Senegalese coast are not under pressure and the solidarity in the squad means they could extend the fairy tale run. “It’s like a crazy dream. But this is not a surprise for us because we know what we are capable of and there is no pressure on us. “We have some players who can decide a game for us in just a few moments and they did that against Angola. “And we are not just a group of footballers-we are a family. When you are down, the group lifts you up.” He added: “We have watched matches in Group B and the top teams are Ghana and Mali. “It’s likely we will now meet Ghana, but we cannot expect anything less because at this stage we will face only the big teams and we are ready.” — AFP

Meanwhile, Mali recovered from conceding an early goal to draw 1-1 with the Democratic Republic of Congo yesterday and book an Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final date with hosts South Africa. Dieumerci Mbokani converted an early penalty as the Congolese made a dream start only for Mahamadou Samassa to level later in the first quarter and the match petered out into a tame draw. It was the first time in seven appearances at the competition with four countries that Franceborn DR Congo coach Claude Le Roy failed to make the knockout stage. There was no need for a calculator or a degree in mathematics to work out what the teams required from this game to make the last eight-a draw would suffice for the Malians while the Congolese had to win. The Congolese made three changes from the team surprisingly held goalless by Niger four days ago with Peterborough United defender Gabriel Zakuani, Yves Diba and Alain Kaluyituka promoted. Mali coach Patrice Carteron was even bolder, axing four of the team that started in a 1-0 loss to Ghana and bringing in Molla Wague, Samba Sow, West Ham striker Modibo Maiga and Mahamadou Samassa. The Congolese could not

have wished for a better start with veteran Tresor LuaLua Lomana foiled by the woodwork just 20 seconds into the first half and Mbokani converting a third-minute penalty. Mali were all at sea in the opening minutes before a fair-size crowd at Moses Mabhida Stadium and former Liverpool midfielder Mohamed Lamine Sissoko tripped Diba for the penalty which Mbokani fired high into the right corner. Goalkeeper Robert Kidiaba-at 37 the oldest player in this tournament-celebrated the lead in traditional style by using his bottom to bounce across the pitch with arms raised in front. But comical defending allowed the Eagles to equalise on 14 minutes as the Leopards fluffed two attempts to clear the ball inside the box and it was cut back for Samassa to hammer home from close range. The second half was a dreary affair with defences on top and the Congolese growing increasingly desperate for the second goal that would take them into the knockout phase. Mali did come close to scoring twice in as many minutes as a Kalilou Traore header flew just wide off a corner and then another substitute, Cheick Tidiane Diabate, rounded Kidiaba only to see his shot go wide off the post. — AFP

Title-winning captain Keshi seeks success as coach JOHANNESBURG: Nigerian Stephen Okechukwu Keshi has experienced glory as a player and gloom as a coach at Africa Cup of Nations tournaments. The 51-year-old native of Lagos was a centre-back and captain of the national team when they won the Africa Cup for the second and last time at the El Menzah Stadium in Tunis 19 years ago. Rocked by an early Zambian goal, the Super Eagles fought back to win 2-1 on the back of an Emmanuel Amunike brace and beaming Keshi was presented with the trophy that symbolises African football supremacy. However, as Keshi prepares Nigeria for a Group C showdown with Ethiopia on Tuesday at Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace in South African mining town Rustenburg, his coaching failures rather than his playing successes will concern him. Twice before he has taken a country to the Cup of Nations tournament and both Togo (2006) and Mali (2010) were eliminated after the mini-league first phase of the African football showpiece. Togo lost all three matches in Egypt and Keshi was fired soon after, depriving him of the chance to take the Sparrow Hawks to the 2006 World Cup having successfully steered them through a long, tough series of eliminators.

He had more joy in charge of Mali four years later with a win, a draw and a loss, but after coming from four goals down with 12 minutes left to hold hosts Angola, a loss to Algeria cost them a last-eight place, and the coach his job. Known as ‘Big Boss’, Keshi arrived in South Africa this month with Nigeria aware that he was in charge of a country with a remarkably consistent Cup of Nations record — 13 top-three finishes in 16 appearances. But if Nigeria, who have conceded late goals in 1-1 draws with Burkina Faso and defending champions Zambia, lose to unpredictable Ethiopia they will be eliminated after the first round for only the third time. It will also mean, sooner or later, that Keshi joins the unemployed coaches’ queue having failed a third time to get beyond the first round, and from a mini-league Nigeria and Zambia were expected to dominate. The coach exudes calmness ahead of a match where a draw might not be enough for Nigeria and if the ghosts of tournaments past are haunting him, he is not letting anyone know. “I am standing by my players, especially John Obi Mikel after his penalty miss against Zambia. We have all to play for against Ethiopia and my wish is that we build a commanding lead and hold it,” he told reporters. —AFP

Qatar plans to issue riyal bonds in 2013: IMF official Page 22


Toyota dominates with GCC market share of 43% Page 25


AUB Kuwait posts KD38.5m profits in 2012

Ford Atlas Concept ‘Most Significant Vehicle’ Page 26

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LIEGE: ArcelorMittal employees gather for a general meeting in Liege yesterday. Last week steelmaker ArcelorMittal’s announcement to close a string of Belgian plants and make 1,300 workers angered several hundred employees who protested outside Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo’s official residence. — AFP

Egypt market plunges as crisis deepens Gulf stocks rise DUBAI: Egypt’s bourse slumped to a 2013 low yesterday after the cabinet approved a draft law giving the army the right to arrest civilians as the political crisis facing Islamist President Mohamed Morsi deepened. Cairo’s index dropped 1.4 percent to its lowest close since Dec 31, also making its largest one-day drop in two weeks. The army will also assist the police in providing security, a cabinet source told Reuters yesterday after the death toll in five days of anti-government protests rose to 50. The government declared a state of

emergency in three cities along with Suez Canal, where deadly clashes took place over the weekend, triggered by a court ruling. “The political situation in Egypt is very bad - the current unrest reflects the fact that none of the political fronts are able to control the situation on the street,” said Mohabeldeen Agena, a technical analyst with a brokerage in Cairo. “The market has been trying to rise for the past week and buying is not strong enough to break the current resistances.” Commercial International Bank, down 4.2 per-

Gauge of US business spending plans rises WASHINGTON: A gauge of US business investment improved in December, a sign that worries over tighter fiscal policy may not have held back capital spending plans as much as feared at the end of 2012. The Commerce Department said yesterday that nondefense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for investment plans, edged up 0.2 percent last month. Many economists had expected businesses to be more timid with spending late last year because of uncertainty over government spending cuts and tax increases, which had been scheduled to kick in this month. Congress struck a last-minute deal in early January to avoid or postpone most of the austerity measures. Yesterday’s data showed companies were still planning to expand their businesses. “There’s a lot more confidence,” said Wayne Kaufman, an analyst at John Thomas Financial in New York. The data pushed down prices for US government debt, while giving the dollar a lift against the yen. But stock prices opened little changed. The report showed new orders for overall durable goods - long lasting factory goods from toasters to automobiles jumped 4.6 percent in December, beating economists expectations of a 1.8 percent gain. Gains were broad based, with new orders for machinery, cars and primary metals all increasing. Orders of civilian aircraft, a volatile category, jumped 10.1 percent. Economists still think economic growth cooled in the fourth quarter as companies slowed the pace at which they re-stocked their shelves. But yesterday’s report suggested businesses expect demand in the US economy to improve. In a further sign firms were betting their business will grow, the investment plans proxy for November was revised higher to show a 3 percent gain. “It certainly seems to us that companies are slowly but surely expanding,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer at Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, New York. —Reuters

cent, and Orascom Construction Industries, down 1.7 percent, were among losers as 26 of the 30 stocks on Cairo’s main index fell. NonArab foreigners were net sellers on the market against Egyptian buyers. Foreigners have recently been the buyers amid the turmoil but are now cutting their risk exposure. Elsewhere, shares in top Dubai bank Emirates NBD surged 6.1 percent to a 15-month high ahead of its earnings later this week. “This is mainly speculation on dividends,” said a Dubai-based trader on condition of anonymity.

Analysts polled by Reuters on average forecast the bank will post a 143 percent rise in quarterly net profit. Dubai’s measure rose 0.1 percent higher to a fresh 33-month high. The index closed above major chart resistance at 1,778 points - the 2012 high hit in March last year - and the October 2010 peak of 1,793 points. If it can hold above these levels, its next major target is 2,200 points in the medium term. Abu Dhabi’s bourse also gained, rising 0.3 percent to its highest close since November 2010.In Doha, Commercial Bank of Qatar

OPEC sees no need to trim supply further LONDON: The world oil market should remain well supplied in 2013 and OPEC does not need to trim back its oil output OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah al-Badri said yesterday. OPEC output fell in December to its lowest in more than a year as its top producer Saudi Arabia cut back, leaving OPEC production the closest it has yet been to the group’s target of 30 million barrels per day (bpd). “There is an improvement in the world economy but some countries are still facing difficulties,” Badri told reporters at an oil conference, asked whether OPEC needed to further tighten its output compliance. “We don’t want to cut production if some countries, major countries are struggling with their economies.” Speaking a month after the producer group at a meeting in Vienna left its output policy unchanged, Badri indicated he was happy with the state of the market and told the conference OPEC did not envisage a price collapse. “Looking ahead for 2013 the market is expected to remain well supplied to meet the expected demand growth.” “Unless something dramatic happens, 2013 will be a repetition of 2012.” OPEC has a collective output target of 30 million bpd and no quotas for the individual members. Badri said he thought it unlikely OPEC would tackle the assignment of a quota for Iraq - long exempt from OPEC quotas - this year. “I don’t think it will come in 2013. It’s not the time,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the Middle East and North Africa Energy conference at Chatham House. While security of oil and gas sites is always a focus for OPEC members, the deadly attack on an Algerian gas plant earlier this month highlighted the need to protect installations. “Security should be focused on anyway, without this incident or with this incident,” Badri said. “It is very important to have security to guard your facilities.” —Reuters

Dubai airport overtakes HK as traffic rises 13% DUBAI: Passenger flows through Dubai’s main airport jumped 13.2 percent last year, helping the airport overtake Hong Kong to become the world’s third busiest for international passenger traffic, airport authorities said yesterday. Dubai’s passenger traffic surged to 57.68 million people in 2012 from 50.98 million during 2011, Dubai Airports said. In the month of December, passengers rose 13.4 percent to 5.32 million. Hong Kong International Airport said earlier this month that its passenger traffic increased 4.7 percent to 56.5 million people last year. The world’s two busiest airports for international passenger traffic are London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle, according to Airports Council International. India was Dubai International’s single biggest country destination in terms of passenger numbers last year, with traffic rising 7.4 percent to 7.34 million. Dubai opened a huge, purpose-built facility for A380 superjumbo jets this month and the airport expects to handle 65.4 million passengers in 2013, said Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Dubai Airports. The airport’s freight volumes rebounded towards the end of last year, helping total volume for 2012 rise 3.9 percent to 2.28 million tons. In December, cargo volume rose 6.5 percent to 201,949 tons. —Reuters

climbed 0.5 percent after it posted a 19 percent jump in fourth-quarter net profit. This trailed analysts’ forecasts, but investors were more interested in the lender’s proposed cash dividend of 6 riyals per share for 2012. Masraf Al Rayan advanced 0.6 percent. The Islamic bank’s quarterly profit rose 7.9 percent to 1.52 billion riyals, beating estimates. It also proposed a cash dividend of 1 riyal per share. Kuwait’s measure gained 0.3 percent, up for a ninth straight session to its highest close since May 2012. —Reuters

S&P revises up Bahrain’s credit outlook to stable NEW YORK: Standard & Poor’s raised its sovereign credit outlook on Bahrain to stable from negative yesterday, citing stable economic growth as well as a stabilizing political environment. The ratings agency affirmed the Gulf nation’s low investment grade credit rating of BBB. “Our ratings on Bahrain are supported by the country’s strong external and fiscal positions, both of which are underpinned by hydrocarbon resources,” S&P said in a statement. “The ratings are constrained by our view of continuing domestic political tensions and the fiscal dependency on sustained high oil prices and international donor support,” the firm said. Bahrain is rated BBB with a stable outlook by Fitch Ratings while Moody’s Investors Service has the nation’s credit rating one notch higher at Baa1, although the outlook is negative. The island state, which serves as the base for the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, has been in turmoil since protests erupted in 2011. Shiite Muslims have demanded an end to the Sunni-led monarchy’s political domination and full powers for parliament. Last week, Bahrain asked pro-democracy opposition parties to nominate delegates for talks to try to break nearly two years of political deadlock in the Gulf Arab state. S&P said Bahrain’s rating was also constrained by stagnating real gross domestic product per capital growth, which the firm is forecasting will be about 1 percent in 2013-2015. “This is low compared to peers at similar wealth levels,” S&P said. “Though Bahrain’s 2011 political crisis weakened growth potential and damaged the country’s reputation as a business services hub, we believe a post-crisis status quo has been established,” S&P said. —Reuters



Qatar plans to issue riyal bonds in 2013: IMF official CB to unveil more open market operations

YANGON: Commuters watch TV as they wait at a ferry pier in Yangon yesterday. Myanmar yesterday announced a deal with international lenders to cancel nearly $6 billion of its debt, another milestone in the rapid transformation of the former juntaruled nation. — AFP

ADNOC supplying fuel to Emarat pump stations DUBAI: United Arab Emirates fuel retailer Emarat is in the process of transferring 74 of its pump stations in the northern emirates to Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) in a move to save Emarat millions of dollars a year, three industry sources said. “ADNOC has been supplying the fuel for these stations,” a source at Emarat said, adding that the day-to-day management of the stations was still being handled by Emarat. “The stations are still under our umbrella, the staff is under Emarat contracts. But I think within a couple of months it will be fully taken over by ADNOC,” he said. UAE federal fuel retailer Emarat and ADNOC signed a memorandum of understanding last May for Emarat pump stations in the poorer emirates of Sharjah, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah to be taken over by ADNOC. A second source familiar with the matter said there was no financial transaction involved, as it was simply federal assets being handed over to ADNOC. He said the handover was almost complete, saving Emarat around 80 million dirhams ($22 million) each month by slashing the volume of fuel it sells for much less than it buys it for. Heavy fuel subsidies are a

widespread social benefit across Gulf Arab countries, but leave those fuel retailers who are not linked to large oil producers like ADNOC taking billion dollar losses selling gasoline at well below their acquisition cost. A UAE plan to phase out the generous subsidies in the OPEC member have quietly been shelved after widespread social unrest across the Arab world, which has so far spared the UAE. Dubai government-owned Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC), Emirates Petroleum Products Co (EPPCO) and Emarat have been hit hardest as cash-strapped Dubai government has not compensated the companies for years. ADNOC’s profitable upstream activities easily cancel out any losses at its fuel pumps, analysts say. ADNOC distribution was not available for comment. The combined losses of the four UAE state-owned retailers were estimated to reach to 12 billion dirhams ($3.27 billion) last year from 8.5 billion dirham ($2.31 billion) in 2011. Standard grade gasoline in the UAE is sold at 1.72 dirham (47 US cents) per liter, less than half of the global average price of $1.21 a liter, according to World Bank data. — Reuters

DUBAI: Qatar plans to issue local currency sovereign bonds with three- and five-year maturities this year as part of efforts to build a yield curve for its debt market, an International Monetary Fund official said yesterday. “They are going to issue three- and five-year domestic government bonds in 2013. They did not mention the timing of the issuance but there will be more than one issuance and the objective is to build a domestic sovereign yield curve,” A Prasad, the IMF’s mission chief for Qatar, told Reuters. He said the government did not disclose any specific amounts or other details of the bond sales to the IMF, which concluded regular consultations with Qatar earlier this month. The bond issues could be a big step in the efforts of the tiny, gas-rich state to attract investment to its debt market, helping fund its massive infrastructure building plans while increasing its attractiveness as a regional financial centre. Qatar has issued local currency bonds before: in January 2011, the central bank (QCB) issued a 50 billion riyal ($14 billion), three-year bond directly to local banks as a step to drain excess money from the banking system. However, “the previous bonds were one-off issuances, and there has been no secondary market trading. Now, they want to build the domestic bond yield curve, so the new issuances will be tradable instruments,” Prasad said. Central bank officials could not be reached to comment. Prasad said the timing of this year’s bond issues was likely to revolve around maturities of previously issued debt, so that Qatar could refinance the debt. Some 19 billion riyals worth of shortterm government notes of up to one year are set to mature this year, according to Thomson Reuters data. Qatari authorities did not mention any plans for issuing dollar-denominated sovereign debt in 2013, Prasad said. In recent months, Qatarrelated debt denominated in dollars has drawn strong demand from international investors; majority state-owned Qatar Telecom saw heavy bids for a $1 billion bond sale last week. This year’s sovereign riyal bonds could attract similar

India’s April-Dec Iran imports dip NEW DELHI: India imported nearly 29 percent more oil from Iran in December over November but still cut purchases 19 percent in the first nine months of year-long contracts, data from trade sources shows, a cut that has won it a waiver from western sanctions. European Union and US sanctions aimed at forcing Iran to curb its disputed nuclear program, which the West believes is aimed at making a bomb, have more than halved Iran’s oil exports in 2012. Iran says its nuclear program is for civilian use. Iran’s major Asian clients-China, India, Japan and South Korea-have all cut imports heavily to secure the waiver and continued access to the US financial system. New Delhi, Tehran’s top oil client after China, has reduced Iran’s importance as a supplier to about 8.6 percent of all imports in 2012 and turned instead to Latin American sellers who now account for about 15.5 percent of its crude purchases. India plans to reduce imports from Iran by another 10-15

percent in the next contract year starting April 1, and more if Tehran does not lower prices to help cover costs resulting from Western sanctions, sources have said. New Delhi shipped in about 276,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil from Iran in December as Indian Oil Corp, the country’s top refiner, drew higher volumes to honor its commitment under an annual deal, the data showed. IOC, which has a deal to import an average 30,000 bpd oil from Iran in the year to March 31, replaced MRPL as Iran’s top Indian client in December, buying two very large crude carriers from Tehran. IOC did not import Iranian oil in JuneOctober. Refiners adjust crude purchases from month to month to tweak their product slate as they try to maximize profit margins. In April-December, India imported about 270,700 bpd oil from Iran, the data showed, below the government’s target of 310,000 bpd for the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2013. —Reuters

interest given the riyal’s peg to the U.S. dollar and the possibility they would offer a higher return than dollar bonds. An IMF report this month found the riyal was “undervalued” in terms of its real effective exchange rate against a range of other currencies; this is not likely to prompt Qatar to change the peg - especially since the IMF predicted the undervaluation would narrow over the medium term - but the inherent firmness of the riyal is positive for investors. A big issue for Qatar’s small but wealthy domestic economy is how to prevent big flows of money from destabilizing the banking system. In addition to the bond issue in 2011, the central bank launched monthly auctions of 91-, 182- and 273-day Treasury bills in May and August that year to soak up excess funds. As a result, available liquidity dropped to a mere 5.8 billion riyals at the end of 2011 from 73.2 billion riyals a year before, the QCB has said. But liquidity began building again last year with bank deposits soaring to a record 448.9 billion riyals in November, a 30.5 percent jump from a year ago, latest QCB data show. Loose liquidity has pushed the average threemonth interbank lending rate down to 0.76 percent in November, the lowest since June 2011, from a March peak of 1.75 percent. Meanwhile, funds parked at the QCB’s low-yielding deposit facility more than doubled in May-November 2012 from the previous seven months. The QCB has been draining a constant 4 billion riyals in its monthly T-bill auctions, but the IMF says the central bank must now start managing liquidity fluctuations more finely through more flexible open market operations. “We have recommended to the QCB that...if there are liquidity movements and fluctuations in the short term, it would be useful to have a reverse repo instrument to absorb liquidity; they see merit in these suggestions,” Prasad said. “They want to move into more open market operations, but it will take some time,” he said, adding that cooperation between the central bank and the finance ministry would be neces-

ADCB picks banks for bond issue DUBAI: Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank , the United Arab Emirates’ third largest lender by market value, has picked five banks for a conventional bond issue, two sources familiar with the matter said, tapping into strong investor interest for regional debt. The lender has chosen itself, J P Morgan Chase, ING , Royal Bank of Scotland and Standard Chartered to arrange the offering, the sources said yesterday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the information is not public. ADCB is due to report its fourth-quarter earnings on Wednesday, with the bond expected to launch in the following days, the sources added. An ADCB official declined to comment. ADCB last tapped the dollar bond market in November 2011, when it printed a $500 million, five-year sukuk. The Islamic bond was trading to yield 2.014 percent at 0735 GMT, according to Thomson Reuters data. However, it has done deals in other currencies, including a $101 million Malaysian ringgit sale in April. “Financial institutions in the region have been active in tapping debt markets in the last year and we expect that trend to continue in 2013. Spreads have tightened and some of them have significant expansion plans,” a senior banking source said, declining to be identified. Fixed income markets in the region have opened the year on a strong note with Dubai and Qatar Telecom raising $1.25 billion and $1 billion respectively last week in well-oversubscribed trades. Emirates, Dubai’s flagship carrier, is expected to issue a bond in the coming days after picking six banks to arrange meetings with fixed income investors. — Reuters

sary. The QCB told the IMF that its ability to engage in open market operations, which would help keep the interbank lending rate near the policy rate, was limited by a shallow interbank market and the lack of an active secondary T-bill market. A newly established debt management office at the Ministry of Economy and Finance should help modernize policies and financing strategies, the IMF said. Overall, Qatar’s current policy mix looks appropriate with monetary policy expected to remain accommodative for some more time, Prasad also said. The QCB cut its overnight deposit rate by a total 75 basis points in April and August 2011 to the current 0.75 percent to discourage banks from parking excess money at its accounts, support lending and bring the rate closer to its US benchmark. The riyal’s peg to the dollar means the QCB needs to keep rates aligned with US benchmarks to avoid excessive capital inflows. Qatar’s infrastructure plans are gigantic; the country of 1.8 million people plans to spend $11 billion on a new international airport, $5.5 billion on a deepwater seaport, and $36 billion on rail projects over the next decade or so, partly in preparation to host the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament. The government plans to boost spending by around 5 percent to 178.6 billion riyals in the fiscal year that ends in March, including spending on wages, services and infrastructure. However, the government still expects to post a comfortable budget surplus of 27.8 billion riyals, and Prasad said the IMF’s studies suggested Qatar was not in danger of running out of money. The government’s fiscal policy is prudent with its international reserves, including the sovereign wealth fund, estimated at $215 billion, he said. Because of Qatar’s gas earnings and rising non-oil revenues, that is projected to rise to around $485 billion by 2017 or 2018, according to the IMF. “We have done a fiscal sustainability analysis that over the medium term shows that the government has space to spend more...but they are still saving,” he said. The IMF estimates Qatar will be able to keep saving about $50 billion each year until 2017 via its sovereign wealth fund. — Reuters

Abu Dhabi property merger to be completed by June 30 DUBAI: Shareholders of Abu Dhabi statelinked firms Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate will vote on the proposed merger next month and the deal is expected to be completed by end-June, the companies said in a joint statement. Abu Dhabi’s two biggest property firms agreed on an all-share merger last week creating a business with $13 billion in assets. The state-backed tie-up, aimed at reviving the emirate’s battered real estate sector, creates the second-largest listed property firm in the United Arab Emirates and one of the biggest in the Middle East. Both the companies will hold an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders to vote on the proposed merger on Feb 21, Aldar said in a filing to Abu Dhabi bourse yesterday. The property firms said that the effective date for the merger was set for June 30 when new Aldar shares would be issued to Sorouh shareholders. Under the merger proposal, Sorouh shareholders will get 1.288 Aldar shares for every share they own. Sorouh will be dissolved and delisted from the local bourse once the merger is completed. The deal is subject to share-

holder approval. Shares of Sorouh would be suspended on June 23, the statement said. Sorouh shareholders will get a premium of 16.9 percent, Abubaker Seddiq alKhouri, Sorouh’s managing director and the proposed chairman of the new business had said during the merger announcement. The Abu Dhabi government will own a 37-percent stake in the new firm and will also pay Sorouh 3.2 billion dirhams in exchange for some infrastructure assets and units in its The Gate development. The management of the combined group, to be named Aldar Sorouh Properties, has proposed a nine-member board which includes Khouri as chairman and state-owned fund Mubadala’s head of real estate and infrastructure unit Ali Eid Al Mheiri as vice chairman. Mubadala will be the single largest shareholder in the combined entity with a holding of 19.15 percent. Other board members include Mubarak Matar Al Humairi, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Ali Majid Al Mansouri, Ali Saeed Abdulla Sulayem Al Falasi, Mansour Mohamed Al Mulla, Ahmed Khalifa Mohamed Al Mehairi and Martin Lee Edelman. —Reuters

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

.2740000 .4410000 .3750000 .3010000 .2770000 .2910000 .0040000 .0020000 .0762440 .7428190 .3900000 .0720000 .7282020 .0430000 CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES .2808500 .4438270 .3779820 .3031630 .2792300 .0506590 .0434520 .2928280 .0362190 .2274640 .0030890 .0000000 .0000000 .0000000 .0000000 .0764950 .7452570 .0000000 .0749130 .7297650 .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 .4540000 .3830000 .3120000 .2890000 .3010000 .0067500 .0035000 .0770100 .7502840 .4050000 .0770000 .7355200 .0510000 .2829500 .4471460 .3808080 .3054300 .2813180 .0510380 .0437770 .2950180 .0364890 .2291650 .0031120 .0052900 .0022310 .0029070 .0035820 .0770670 .7508290 .4002120 .0754730 .7352220 .0070120

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 298.39 284.21 308.74 382.60 281.75 447.67 3.18 3.565 5.231 2.219 3.281 2.888

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

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

77.200 748.700 46.750 403.000 733.000 78.500 75.600

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

76.78 750.20 42.33 401.40 733.28 77.80 75.34

SELL CASH 297.000 284.000 308.000 381.500 282.500 448.500 3.750 3.800 5.400 2.600 3.450 2.970

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 297.500 750.480 3.990 283.500 554.200 46.000 51.800 167.800 43.420 383.500 37.090 5.420 0.032 0.161 0.245

SELLDRAFT 296.000 750.480 3.545 282.000

230.000 42.954 382.000 36.940 5.241 0.031

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

3.200 399.910 0.191 95.480 46.200 4.340 239.400 1.828 52.100 733.020 3.000 7.280 78.060 75.350 230.020 33.790 2.688 448.400 44.700 307.700 3.400 9.810 198.263 76.940 282.600 1.360

3.300 237.900

732.840 2.889 6.954 77.630 75.350 230.020 33.790 2.218 446.400 306.200 3.400 9.630 76.840 282.200

GOLD 1,768.550

10 Tola

Sterling Pound US Dollar

399.870 0.190 95.480

TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 446.400 282.200

Al Mulla Exchange 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) 281.700 381.700 446.200 281.750 3.140 5.236 42.315 2.215 3.540 6.928 2.888 750.200 76.750 75.250



AUB Kuwait posts KD38.5m profits in 2012 22.2% rise in profits from previous year Highest return on equity by 14.5% ●

KUWAIT: The Chairman and Managing Director of Ahli United Bank, Hamad Abdulmohsen Al-Marzouq announced the financial results for Ahli United Bank Kuwait (AUBK) for the year 2012, indicating that the bank realized profits amounted to KD 38.5 million in 2012, ie an increase of 22.2% compared with profits of KD 31.5 million during the corresponding period of the previous year, notwithstanding the total precautionary provisions of KD 16.8 million taken by the bank. These profits were generated from the operating revenues of the bank core business amounting to KD 86.4 million, whereas the net operating profits of the bank reached 48%, and the earning per share reached 36.2 fils compared with 29.6 files in 2011. This reflects the bank financial viability and its continued capability to realize operating profits generated from its banking activities. With regard to distributions, AlMarzouq announced that the Board of Directors of Ahli United Bank Kuwait decided to recommend to the general assembly to distribute cash profits by 18% of the nominal value of share (ie 18 fils per share) and bonus shares by 10% (i.e. 10 shares for each 100 shares) to shareholders recorded in the bank registers as at the date of convening the general assembly meeting, compared with 15% cash dividends and 5% bonus shares in the previous year, and this recommendation is subject to approval of the bank general assembly and the concerned authorities. On this occasion, Al-Marzouq, commenting in a press release on the financial results of the bank, said that with the

grace of Allah, the financial performance of AUBK was robust and notable despite the continued conservative policy applied by the bank in provisions taking. The outcome of such policy has extended support to the bank financial position as signified in the growth realized in the key ratios in the balance sheet. We are confident that such rational policy applied in managing our business will enhance AUBK growth opportunities and the bank to realize successive achievements. Al-Marzouq demonstrated the financial indicators of the bank for the year 2012, pointing out that total assets rose by KD 2633 million in 2012, and customer deposits grew by 7% to reach KD 1796 million in 2012. The bank shareholders’ equity rose also by 7.9% and the bank realized in 2012 high return ratios equal to 14.5% on the average shareholders’ equity. New products and services On the new products and services launched by AUBK in 2012, Al-Marzouq said that our breakthrough in enhancing the performance of AUBK operations was synchronized with our concentration in 2012 on offering several new products which solidified the efficacy and integration of our banking services to satisfy our customers aspirations and requirements. In this regard, the bank succeeded in launching the auto-purchase financing service through several repayment options associated with flexible and very high ceiling to enable customers to acquire in no time the cars they wish through the bank branches located in all

areas in the State of Kuwait, along with the Ahli United Bank showroom which was inaugurated in the year 2012 and displayed distinguished group of cars. The bank succeeded also in launching the real estate financing service through a

The Chairman and Managing Director of Ahli United Bank, Hamad Abdulmohsen Al-Marzouq new package of facilities and advantages. This new service coped up with the developments in the real estate market and the variable customers requirements and witnessed considerable demand by the bank customers. Al-Motahid succeeded also in developing the Hassadi Prize Program and increasing the prizes offered through this Program, in an indication of the success of this program, which is counted the First Sharia-compliant prize program in Kuwait, and the sole one which offers weekly and quarterly prizes, and the two feasts prizes, which surpass the amounts offered by the other prize programs.

Al-Marzouq added that thanks to the stable and diversified financing base and the innovated products package, AUBK maintains its vested position in providing the best financial services which satisfy the retail and corporate requirements in our dear country according to the stateof-the-art banking technologies tailored with Ahli United Bank position, being the earliest bank to start banking business in the State of Kuwait. Al-Marzouq expressed Ahli United Bank Management pride of the acclamations and the high credit ratings accorded by the most notable world credit rating agencies, indicating in this regard that “Capital Intelligence”, the international credit rating agency, raised Ahli United Bank Kuwait (AUBK)’s Long-Term Foreign Currency (FC) Rating to ‘A’ based on the Bank’s sound and better than average asset quality, solid capital adequacy, good liquidity positions, and recovering profitability. Al-Marzouq indicated also that Moody’s International Rating Agency affirmed Ahli United Bank Kuwait (AUBK) ratings with stable future outlook supported by the bank’s strong financial fundamentals, and affirmed AUBK’s long term global local currency at A3 and Moody’s commended the results achieved by Ahli United Bank Kuwait during the first nine months of 2012. Al-Marzouq stressed that Ahli United Bank, Kuwait still adheres to well-established prudent policies and salient management approaches. Therefore, the bank has been accorded with world impartial certifications which confirmed the future

financial stability of the bank, the quality of its assets and the stability of its profits. This helped also the bank to enhance and maintain the salient and stable credit rating according to the world Fitch Ratings, which reflects the bank strong financial position even within the inconvenient economic conditions. Fitch Rating commended the quality of the bank assets, and this is another certification that Ahli United Bank, Kuwait carries on its business in conformity with firm strategy that enhances depositors and customers confidence in the bank management of its banking business. Al-Marzouq stated that the high credit ratings accorded to the bank are deemed to be considerable achievements to the bank and impartial official recognition of the effective measures taken by the bank in carrying on its business in accordance with Islamic Sharia provisions, for the purpose of restructuring of its business, raising its profitability and enhancing its financing structure, confirming that these salient ratings accorded to the bank reflect the soundness and strength of the bank financial position featured with its flexible and positive capability of sound management. Al-Marzouq concluded his statement expressing his thanks and appreciation to the bank customers and shareholders who accorded their confidence in the bank and its board of directors, and extended his thanks to all the bank staff members for the efforts they expended and their continued support which brought forth all these outstanding outcomes.

LG launches world’s first 84-inch ultra HD TV Breaking new ground in home entertainment

REYK JAVIK: A woman leaving a branch of Iceland’s second largest bank, Landsbankinn in Reykjavik. Iceland was entitled to refuse to pay immediate deposit guarantees to savers with failed online bank Icesave in Britain and the Netherlands, a European court said yesterday. —AFP

Abu Dhabi-led group looks to exit from Jordan project DUBAI: An Abu Dhabi-led consortium investing $850 million to expand Jordan’s main airport is looking to exit a 25-year concession to manage the facility, preferring to cash in the investment rather than stay involved for coming years. Three banking sources told Reuters Airport International Group (AIG), formed of French, Greek and Jordanian firms to expand the Queen Alia International Airport with an additional terminal, had approached banks to advise on the possible sale. The consortium was awarded a 25-year build-operate-transfer (BOT) concession by the Jordanian government in 2007. The new terminal is expected to open in February, increasing capacity nearly three times to 9 million passengers a year. “They (the consortium members) have finished almost all the work and as financial investors, are looking to get out of the investment. The process is still at an initial stage and it will be a while before any deal is reached,” one of the sources said. Yet the potential withdrawal of an Abu Dhabi-led consortium is likely to be a sensitive development given the UAE’s support for Jordan, a monarchy which is grappling with dwindling foreign investment in its ailing economy, amid the Arab Spring unrest. Arab uprisings have hit Jordan’s domestic demand and foreign cash flows, including remittances from expatriates in the Gulf, but air passenger traffic in the country has increased amid unrest in neighboring Syria. Queen Alia airport, the main hub for Royal Jordan Airlines , already has three terminals and more than 90 percent of work expanding it is complete, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity as the matter is not

public. The AIG consortium is led by Abu Dhabi-owned Invest AD, which has a 38 percent stake, and Kuwait’s Noor Financial Investment Co, with a 24 percent ownership. Other partners include Jordan’s Edgo Group, Greek construction firm J P Avax, J&P Overseas Ltd and a unit of France’s Aeroports de Paris Group. A spokeswoman for AIG declined comment. Invest AD, Noor Financial and Edgo Group were not available for comment. ADP, which has a 9.5 percent stake in the venture, declined comment. Invest AD’s role in the venture is part of its infrastructure business, which it operated as a joint venture with Swiss lender UBS, a second source said. The venture was scrapped in 2010 and the firm has been looking to exit, the source added. A new buyer will be taking charge of a much larger airport with increased traffic after the expansion. “It’s not a massive airport now but after the expansion, you are talking about a sizeable one. Traffic is only likely to increase further given issues in countries like Syria,” the source said. Potential buyers could range from regional sovereign wealth funds that have a heavy focus on infrastructure, as well as global infrastructure investors. Saudi Arabia, which has proposed inviting Morocco and Jordan into a so-called club of kings with Gulf monarchies, might also lend its support. Invest AD is owned by Abu Dhabi Investment Council (ADIC), which focuses on countries closer to home and is a separate entity from Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds. Noor is the financial arm of Kuwait’s National Industries Group, controlled by the high-profile Kharafi family. — Reuters

KUWAIT: LG Electronics (LG) yesterday introduced the world’s first 84-inch Ultra HD TV in the Kuwaiti market. LG’s Ultra HD TV is the company’s response to growing consumer demand for larger, more immersive home TVs with greater functionality. The Ultra HD TV introduces a number of new smart features with the aim of providing greater convenience and simpler interaction. “The 4K display market is still in its infancy but it was important for LG to claim a stake in this space,” said D Y Kim, President of LG Electronics GULF FZE, “LG’s Ultra HD TV represents a whole new level of home viewing experience because it offers every advanced technology we currently have to offer.” LG Ultra HD TV boasts astonishing picture quality with 8 million pixels per frame, four times the resolution (3840x2160) of existing Full HD TV panels, due in large part to LG’s advanced Triple XD Engine. The additional Resolution Upscaler Plus allows images from external sources such as hard drives and user-generated content websites to be rendered in higher detail. Bringing this exciting new experience to the 3D entertainment arena, LG has equipped its Ultra HD TV with CINEMA 3D technology to ensure the impressively large display provides the most immersive viewing experience possible. 3D Depth Control allows viewers to finetune the “distance” between near and far objects on the screen for a custom 3D experience. The 3D Sound Zooming feature then analyzes the on-screen objects to generate sound according to their location and movement. LG’s newest Magic Remote allows users to

intuitively access and navigate the Home Dashboard. LG’s Smart T V ecosystem now includes approximately 1,400 apps and access to a growing community of premium content services such as 3D World with a wide array of movies and games. Even more media content can be accessed via portable devices such as laptops, mobile phones, tablets and flash memory drives using Smart Share Plus. The imbedded 2D to 3D conversion engine expands the availability of 3D content and Dual Play takes head-

Ukraine, Russia battle over $7bn gas bill

India MRPL struggles to take big oil cargoes NEW DELHI: Indian refiner MRPL is struggling to take delivery of 1 million barrel cargoes of crude oil after failing to start operation of a new offshore terminal. The Indian refiner in mid-January had to lighten the load of its first spot vessel carrying 1 million barrels by using a smaller vessel at another port, two sources privy to the latest development said yesterday. The delays are making it difficult for MRPL, Iran’s biggest Indian customer with an annual contract for 100,000 barrels per day (bpd), to receive Iranian crude. Western sanctions have limited the number of small Iranian tankers. MRPL had hoped a new single point mooring (SPM) would start oper-

ating at the Mangalore Port by May 2012, but the SPM has faced repeated delays. The latest delay involved a leak in a test run earlier this month. ] “There are uncertainties over commissioning of SPM. For how long can MRPL afford to pay demurrage charges?” one of the sources said. MRPL received a suezmax, the Cape Bastia, from trader Trafigura containing 1 million barrels of Equatorial Guinea’s Zafiro crude on Jan. 13, hoping the SPM would be commissioned by end-December. The sources said MRPL took the Cape Bastia to Mumbai port over the weekend and transferred about 366,000 barrels to a smaller vessel, a process known as lighterage. — Reuters

to-head game play to a whole new level by allowing opponents to simultaneously see different images on the same screen. With Dual Play, split-screen gaming is a thing of the past. LG’s Ultra HD TV also features a 2.2 Speaker System consisting of two 10W speakers and two 15W woofers, which reinforce the sound to produce a lush audio experience that perfectly complements the extraordinary visuals produced by the massive screen, creating a theaterlike experience in the home.

BEIJING: A man rides his bicycle through a Caterpillar yard in Beijing yesterday. Caterpillar’s fourth-quarter net income fell by half after it took a big charge for a deal in China that went bad, and because of slower growth in China and economic uncertainty in the US and Europe. — AFP

KIEV: Ukraine and Russia were locked yesterday in a high-stakes energy dispute after Kiev refused to pay a stunning $7 billion bill for energy it allegedly promised to purchase from Moscow but never did. The new crisis between the two uneasy neighbours came just as Ukraine signed a $10 billion shale gas project with the supermajor Royal Dutch Shell a deal that could relieve the country’s painful dependence on Russian gas. It also comes four years after Russia’s gas giant Gazprom interrupted pipeline deliveries to Europe in a reminder of what bilateral disputes can do to unsuspecting clients in distant locales such as Italy and France. “We are not going to pay it,” a high-ranking Ukrainian told AFP on condition of anonymity. A source at the national oil company Naftogaz called the Russian billreportedly presented to Kiev just hours before it was to sign its Shell deal in Davosa form of diplomatic pressure aimed at eventually wresting control of Ukraine’s energy distribution network. “We see this is a form of pressure that comes in the midst of continuing negotiations about the creation of a gas transport consortium (with Europe) and a reduction in the price of gas for Ukraine,” the Naftogaz source told the Kommersant Ukraine daily. The neighbors have fought for years over the gas Ukraine uses in large quantities because of its inefficient industry but for which its stuttering economy is often unable to pay. Ukraine has attempted to use its transit nation status to negotiate lower prices. It has even been accused of syphoning off European supplies. But Kiev’s latest strategy involves seeking a one-third reduction in the amount of gas it buys from Russia per year. The difference was to come from a new liquified natural gas plant built

in the south of the country as well as the development of “unconventional” sources of energy such as the eastern Ukrainian shale. Russia had forseen these efforts and structured most of its contracts under a “take-or-pay” policy requiring nations to purchase a minimum volume of it product per year or pay for the difference. Ukraine imported 32.9 billion cubic metres (bcm) of Russian gas has last year. Ukraine argues that it had the right to reduce its purchases from 52 bcm to 42 bcm-and even further to 33 billion if it gave notice at least six months in advance. But the national oil company purchased only 24.9 bcm while the rest was acquired by a private player-a fact apparently used by Russia when it was writing up its bill to the Ukrainian state. Some observers are not impressed with Gapzrom’s case. “This claim will likely result in a long-lasting litigation in international courts,” Moscow’s Alfa Bank wrote in a research note. But the Kremlin’s top spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the energy dispute featured in “every single conversation” between Yanukovych and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Many in the Ukrainian media linked Russia’s new complaint with Kiev’s efforts to move further away from Moscow’s energy grasp. But analysts warn that shale and other unconventional gas deposits may take at least five years to explore and many more to develop. A switch to liquified natural gas purchases from countries such as Qatar would also be gradual and involve continued strong early reliance on Russia. Some analysts said Ukraine’s best chance in the short term required improvements in the energy efficiency of its industries-a Soviet-era problem that particularly plagues the industrial eastern half of the country. — AFP



Myanmar gets total debt relief of $6bn YANGON: Myanmar has cleared its arrears to the World Bank and Asian Development Bank and secured a huge debt write-off by creditor countries grouped in the Paris Club, clearing the way for aid donors to step up work to support the government’s reforms. Since taking office at the head of a quasi-civilian government in 2011, Myanmar President Thein Sein has freed political prisoners, unmuzzled the media and begun to reform the economy with a new foreign investment law and an exchange rate determined more by market forces. In response, Western countries have eased sanctions imposed on the previous military regime. International financial institutions have offered technical help but have been prevented from doing more by debt arrears accumulated under the military, which, under their rules, stopped them offering new loans. However, yesterday, the Asian

Development Bank (ADB) said the arrears owed to it had been cleared with the help of Japan, so it could resume operations in Myanmar. It offered a $512 million loan for social and economic projects. The World Bank said Myanmar had also paid the money owed to it, again with the help of Japan, and it had responded with a $440 million credit. The government said in a statement it had met creditors grouped in the Paris Club on Jan. 25 and they had agreed to cancel half of the arrears Myanmar owed them in two stages, rescheduling the rest over 15 years, with seven years’ grace. On top of that, Norway had cancelled all the $534 million owed to it, while Japan was cancelling more than $3 billion, it said. “These agreements result in total debt relief of around $6 billion, that is, more than 60 percent of total debt,” the government said. Finance Minister Win Shein said in the statement this marked “an era of new relationships in which Myanmar is

committed to fully cooperate with all members of the Paris Club”. He promised that resources freed up by the debt relief would be used for development projects and poverty reduction. The Manila-based ADB said bridge financing provided to Myanmar by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) this month allowed the government to pay off arrears to the ADB of about $500 million. The World Bank, in its statement from Washington dated Jan. 27, said its new loan would be used in part to “help the government meet its foreign exchange needs”, which included repaying a JBIC bridge loan used to clear arrears. The World Bank arrears had been put at about $400 million. Japan, whose government and companies have been particularly active in the former Burma since it opened up, had said it would help with the arrears. The ADB, which reopened an office in Yangon, Myanmar’s commercial

capital, in April 2012, said the clearing of arrears allowed it to provide its first loan to the country in more than 30 years. Thein Sein’s government has had to start practically from scratch in developing a modern economy. Reflecting that, the ADB said it would focus on “the building blocks for stability and sustainability”. Among other things, it would look at improving public finances and developing the finance sector. The loan would be used to “finalize arrears clearance and sustain government efforts to revamp the national budget process and modernize tax administration”, the ADB said. “In rural areas, where development has been hindered by lack of infrastructure, restrictions on land usage, poorly developed support services and limited access to financial services for farmers, ADB funding will help develop a strategy to make banking services more widely available,” it

said. The World Bank said its credit would support reforms to strengthen macroeconomic stability and to improve public financial management and the investment climate. It said that, over the past year, it had opened an office in Yangon and brought in technical experts to help the government develop a broad development program. The government outlined a detailed program at a big aid donors’ conference in the capital, Naypyitaw, on Jan 19-20. The World Bank said it had already provided an $80 million grant for improvements to rural infrastructure, including schools, health clinics, roads and irrigation schemes in about 640 villages across Myanmar over six years. The International Monetary Fund said on Jan. 17 the government had asked for its help to pursue reforms and craft economic policies so that Myanmar could become part of the global economy. — Reuters

Japan eased safety standards ahead of Boeing 787 rollout External experts concluded meetings in March 2008 TOKYO: Japan’s government stepped in to give Boeing Co’s nowgrounded 787 Dreamliner and its made-in-Japan technology a boost in 2008 by easing safety regulations, fast-tracking the rollout of the groundbreaking jet for Japan’s biggest airlines, according to records and participants in the process. The concessions by an advisory panel to Japan’s transport ministry reflected pressure from All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines (JAL) and a push to support Japanese firms that supply 35 percent of the 787 from the carbonfiber in its wings to sophisticated electrical systems and batteries used to save fuel, people involved in the deliberations told Reuters. “I believe the request for the changes came initially from the airlines. Ultimately, it was a discussion of measures to lower operating costs for the airlines,” said Masatoshi Harigae, head of aviation at Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency, one of the outside advisers who urged the eased regulatory standards. There is no suggestion that easing regulatory standards contributed to the problems facing the Dreamliner, idled around the world after a string of malfunctions ranging from fuel leaks to battery meltdowns. There is also no evidence to suggest that continuing the mandate for more frequent manual inspections for new aircraft, including the Boeing 787, before 2008 would have helped catch signs of trouble earlier. The looser regulations did not specifically address the risk of the Dreamliner’s powerful batteries catching fire, the risk that safety investigators have zeroed in on in recent weeks. But the steps taken by Japan’s Civil Aviation Bureau in 2008 underscore how the deep commercial ties between Boeing and its Japanese suppliers and the backing of ANA and JAL helped build support for an easing of certification standards, based on a review of meeting records by the advisory panel released by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and comments from three of the seven experts who participated. ANA and JAL declined to comment, deferring questions on regulatory standards to aviation officials and the ministry. Boeing in Tokyo said it couldn’t immediately comment on the rule changes. “We have not brought down our standards in comparison to other countries. This was a pragmatic revision,” Tatsuyuki Shimazu, Chief Air Worthiness Engineer at the Civil Aviation Bureau, said. Earlier this month, ANA was forced to make an emergency landing on a 787 domestic flight after a battery overheated and partially melted, triggering smoke alarms in the cockpit. The probe into that incident may take weeks or months as investigators still lack basic data to understand what went wrong, people involved have said. In the meantime, the indefinite grounding of the Dreamliner has raised costs for both ANA and JAL and threatened to push back plans both carriers had for growth and new routes based on the new aircraft, analysts have said. Boeing has yet to say whether it will compensate carriers for flight cancellations and higher operating costs. “We have been talking with our customers since (the 787 was grounded), but the details are confidential,” said Rob Henderson, a Boeing spokesman in Tokyo. After three meetings by a panel of industry and policy experts that concluded in March 2008, Japan’s transport ministry said it would adopt 40 proposals to streamline regulations surrounding new air-

craft. At the time, the ministry said the easier regulatory standards were designed in part to “quickly realize the benefits from the introduction of the 787.” ANA, the Dreamliner’s biggest customer, and JAL committed to buy the first 787 in 2004, helping Boeing kick-start orders for the futuristic plane. Both subsequently increased their orders, with ANA planning to eventually fly 66 Dreamliners. “At the time there was a lot of confidence in the aircraft. It was a discussion of measures to lower operating costs for the airlines,” said Harigae. Japan’s government agencies often convene blue-ribbon panels of outside experts to review regulatory policy changes, as the transport ministry did for aircraft safety rules in 2007. Turnarounds Changes endorsed by the aviation group, including 40 revised safety guidelines, were presented as an effort to bring Japan into line with the framework of regulations in other markets, including the United States. At least five recommendations in the advisory report benefited the 787. Four mentioned support for the Dreamliner directly. Three of the rule changes dealt with abbreviated testing and approval of pilots who had been cleared to fly the Boeing 777 and were preparing to switch to the 787. “It (787) is highly innovative and its safety is also advanced, but it’s also

until 2011 for its first Dreamliner. Deep ties In 2009, a bilateral agreement between Japan and the United States provided further support for the Dreamliner to enter service in Asia. That pact allowed aviation officials in Tokyo to certify the airworthiness of the US-built jets based on testing mostly approved by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). In 2007, the FAA cleared Boeing’s use of a potentially flammable battery in the Dreamliner because Boeing’s design was expected to contain any potential fire and divert smoke and fumes away from the passenger cabin. Japan’s support for the Dreamliner reflects how closely integrated the nation’s aerospace industry has become in Boeing’s supply chain, experts say. “If the 787 prevails all over the world it’s good for Japanese industry, so the government wants to support it,” said Hajime Tozaki, an aviation policy specialist and professor at Tokyo’s Waseda University, who was not part of the 2008 review. Japanese companies led by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd maker of the wartime Zero fighter, build a third of the Dreamliner including its wings. The stake of Japanese suppliers rose from less than a fifth for the 767 to a quarter for the 777 and 35 percent for the 787. As many as 22,000 aerospace jobs at 65 firms in Japan are pegged to Boeing’s fortunes, Boeing estimates. After years of trying, Europe’s

TOKYO: Officials inspect an All Nippon Airways Boeing 787 which made an emergency landing at Takamatsu airport in Takamatsu, western Japan. The joint US and Japanese investigation into the plane’s battery problems has shifted from the battery-maker to the manufacturer of a monitoring system yesterday. — AP very similar in design to the 777,” said Kinya Fujiishi, an aviation journalist who sat on the panel. “This is why we thought it would be fine to revise the rule.” Another approved rule change exempted Boeing’s new jet from the need for detailed inspections by ground crew after each landing that would have meant higher costs and longer delays - for the airlines with each flight. Participants said the panel concluded such checks were not needed because of the Dreamliner’s sophisticated on-board diagnostic system. JAL said it still performs checks between 787 flights because it is still required to do so after international routes. ANA said it checks domestic 777 and 787 flights although rules no longer mandate them to perform these. At the same time, the revised rules opened up potentially lucrative trans-Pacific destinations to ANA and JAL with the Dreamliner sooner than previous standards would have allowed. Changes shortened the time needed to win approval - known as Extendedrange Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards (ETOPS) - to fly two-engined jets on routes distant from emergency airfields. But production and design snags meant ANA, even so, had to wait

Airbus has failed to drive a wedge into Japan’s ties to Boeing, which in the past decade has won more than 80 percent of Japan’s aircraft orders. Potential damage For now, Japan is sticking by Boeing with some even calling for a more conspicuous government support for the 787. “I didn’t feel there was enough (government) effort to promote the 787,” said Hiroyasu Hagio, a former JAL pilot who represented flight crews in the 2008 review as head of the Japan Aircraft Pilot Association. He added: “In other countries it’s normal for countries to aggressively get involved in sales.” The two big Japanese carriers remain committed to putting the 787 at the core of their fleet planning and say there has been no change to their order plans. But there are signs the Dreamliner’s problems have strained ties between Japan and Boeing. Last week, US diplomats met Japanese officials in Tokyo to discuss the political and economic fallout from the Dreamliner ’s grounding. “If Boeing intentionally and politically puts the losses on to Japanese companies, the damage for Japan will be huge,” said Isao Iijima, a political adviser to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. — Reuters



Toyota dominates with GCC market share of 43% Global sales record of 8.72m units in 2012 • Mideast sales over 660,000 units KUWAIT: Toyota yesterday announced a strong growth in 2012 sales with global sales record (Toyota & Lexus) totaling 8.72 million units, a year-on-year (YoY) increase of 23% over 2011 sales. In 2012, Toyota also crossed a major milestone of 1 million hybrid vehicles. In line with this impressive sales growth, the Middle East region also reported a record year selling 660,285 units, resulting in a YoY increase of 31% as compared to the previous year. Across the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), Toyota sold 624,400 vehicles which is a 31% increase YoY over 2011. Toyota maintained its position at the top of the GCC automotive industry with a further increase in its dominant market share to 43%, achieving a phenomenal 4% increase in market share from 2011. According to Nobuyuki Negishi, Chief Representative of Middle East & North Africa Representative Office, Toyota Motor Corporation “2012 has once again turned out to be a great year for Toyota in terms of our sales growth and it is

especially satisfying considering we celebrated our 75th anniversary in 2012. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our loyal customers who have placed their faith in us. It gives me enormous satisfaction to see this enthusiastic

response from our customer base which is a true reflection of their trust in our vehicles over the years. These impressive sales figures also demonstrate a magnificent year in terms of sales performance from the entire Toyota Middle East team and our valued distributors.” He added, “We have always strived to improve the quality, durability and reliability of our

cars, in addition to providing excitement and exhilaration with our diverse product range to provide the ultimate driver performance and experience, and we will continue to do so. The Middle East

region represents a very important and strategic market for Toyota and with our new slogan of Always Better Cars, we will continue our drive to exceed customer expectations across the region by push-

ing the boundaries of design, technology, craftsmanship and customer service to drive further growth in sales.” In 2012, Toyota introduced a range of new and re-designed models in the Middle East which included notable highlights like the Toyota 86, an epoch making sports model which has received worldwide adulation from customers, media and the motoring industry at large. In 2012, Toyota also introduced the new, redesigned 2012 Aurion to the Middle East market. Across the Lexus brand, Toyota introduced Middle East customers to a dynamic, fresh styling, that reflected the new face of Lexus through its bold new design and superior craftsmanship with the launch of its flagship LX570, RX 350 and RX 450h in the SUV segment and the all-new ES lineup which includes the ES 350 and ES 250 to name a few. Toyota group (Toyota, Lexus, Daihatsu & Hino) reports strong global sales of 9.75 million units in 2012 with an increase of 23% over 2011.

NBK Bahrain reports net profits of $92m for 2012 Profits jump 31% year-on-year

PARIS: French Minister for Industrial Recovery Arnaud Montebourg (right) and French Economy, Finance and Foreign Trade Minister, Pierre Moscovici arrive at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris yesterday. — AFP

ECB finds merit in separating risky bank activities FRANKFURT: The ECB “sees merit” in separating some high-risk trading operations from banks’ mainstream business but has stopped short of fully backing splitting deposit-taking arms from riskier investment banking. In a document released yesterday, the European Central Bank also supported proposals to impose losses on bondholders at insolvent banks but wanted a closer examination of the practical implications of such “bail-in” provisions. The ECB’s views on banking carry weight because from next year it will have new powers that will give it automatic oversight of around 150 of the euro zone’s 6,000-odd banks, and the authority to intervene in smaller banks if there are signs of trouble. An EU advisory group, led by Bank of Finland chief Erkki Liikanen, proposed last October that banks separate their deposit-taking arms from proprietary trading and other risky investment banking work to shield taxpayers from further bailouts and protect savers. The proposal is a response to concerns that rose during the financial crisis that retail banking is vulnerable to troubles that hit the investment banks. “In general, the Eurosystem (of euro zone central banks) sees merit in separating certain high risk activities of financial institutions that are not associated to the provision of client-related services,” the ECB said in the document on the Liikanen Report. But it added that “further analysis is

warranted on the possible scope for allowing market-making to be carried out by the deposit taking entity, subject to certain limits.” The European Commission is due to make proposals on changing the structure of banks in the coming months based on the Liikanen Report but is uncertain how far it will go in recommending a break-up of Europe’s biggest banks. The Liikanen proposals provide steps towards strengthening the resilience of the financial system, the ECB said, adding: “The Eurosystem is of the view that an impact assessment needs to be carried out as a matter of priority in order to gauge the possible impact of the proposals in the EU.” Even mandatory separation of banks’ activities may still be unable to avoid taxpayers facing a bill “if the trading entity is too systemic, large and interconnected”, the ECB said. “This should be avoided,” it added in the document. “In this context, further research is warranted to understand and assess the implications of size and interconnectedness.” The “bail-in” proposal “is seen as providing legal certainty and incentives for investors to better monitor banks and reduces the implicit government subsidy for the too-big-to-fail entities,” the ECB said. But just as with bank structures, it added the caveat that further analysis should be carried out on the “practical and operational implications of bail-in.” — Reuters

Euro-zone lending falls for 8th month FRANKFURT: Loans to companies and households in the euro zone contracted for the eighth month running in December, showing low official borrowing costs are having little success in reviving investment and spending. The European Central Bank has cut interest rates to a record low and pumped more than 1 trillion euros into the banking sector, which some banks are beginning to repay early in a sign that funding conditions are improving. But lending remains weak. Loans to the private sector fell 0.7 percent from the same month a year ago, ECB data showed, in line with the mid-range forecast in a Reuters poll of economists. “The euro zone may be heading for a recovery, but not a credit-fuelled one,” said Berenberg economist Christian Schulz. “Returning confidence in the banking sector may be concealed by the effects of the ongoing recession and deleveraging.” The monthly flow of loans to non-financial firms fell 22 billion euros in December after falling by 7 billion euros in November. The monthly flow of loans to households showed a drop of 3 billion euros after a rise of 6 billion euros in the previous month. The cheap funds the ECB is pumping through the monetary system are not reaching households and businesses evenly across the currency bloc as some countries struggle to get their stricken economies back on track, though progress has been made. On a country-by-country basis, the data

showed a 22 billion euro drop in privatesector lending in Spain, the largest monthly fall since July. In Portugal, private-sector lending fell by 2.6 billion, the biggest drop in a year. Italy, however, posted a healthy rise in private-sector loans of 12.6 billion euros to 1.757 trillion euros. The central bank has taken some of the heat out of the euro zone crisis by announcing a new, as yet unused, bond-purchase program, but the bloc’s economy remains weak and is expected to have shrunk in the final months of 2012. ECB President Mario Draghi noted in early January some economic indicators had stabilized at low levels and financial markets’ confidence had improved, which along with the ECB’s accommodative policy should lead to a recovery later this year. Draghi even spoke of “positive contagion” in financial markets, and yesterday’s data pointed in that direction, showing consumers and firms’ deposits in banks in Greece, Italy and to some extent Spain rising in December. The more upbeat assessment has doused hopes of any further cuts in interest rates but most economists think the economy will contract overall this year. “The much more positive sentiment about the eurozone future that has prevailed in financial markets so far this year will probably take some time to materialize in greater credit availability and economic growth,” Oxford Economics’ Marie Diron said. — Reuters

KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait - Kingdom of Bahrain, a branch of NBK Group, reported net profits of $92 million (BHD 34.6 million) for the year of 2012 compared with $70 million (BHD 26.2 million) in 2011, a growth of 31% year-onyear. The bank’s performance remains solid and impressive given the challenging environment. NBK Bahrain’s total assets increased to $5.5 billion at the end of 2012, while shareholders equity rose 16% year-on-year to $636 million. Ibrahim S Dabdoub, NBK Group CEO said “NBK Bahrain’s performance is a clear evidence that our regional expansion strategy is successful and rewarding despite the difficult operating environment in the region. We are proceeding steadily and successfully in strengthening our position regionally.” Dabdoub added: “Our strategic initiative has become a main pillar on which we will build future growth, as we expect the contribution of our international operations to the Group’s profitability to continue growing.” Ali Fardan, NBK Bahrain General Manager, said “this strong performance attests to the solid foundations on which the bank was built. NBK Bahrain has been able to sail through the storm unscathed, as we have consistently focused on our core business and ways to diversify sources of income. The quality of our assets is beyond reproach, built on a culture of prudence and strict risk management practices, which continues to serve us well in times of calm and crisis.

Ibrahim S Dabdoub, NBK Group CEO Meanwhile, we continue to grow our operations locally and regionally constantly developing new products to serve our corporate and consumer customers.” NBK has the widest banking presence in Kuwait with 64 branches, which together with its growing international presence totals 173 branches worldwide. NBK’s international presence spans many of the world’s leading financial centers including London, Paris, Geneva, New York and Singapore, as well as China (Shanghai). Meanwhile, regional coverage extends to Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar,

Ali Fardan, NBK Bahrain General Manager Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Turkey. NBK continues to collectively enjoy the highest ratings among all banks in the Middle East from the three international rating agencies; Moody’s, Fitch Ratings and Standard and Poor’s. The Bank’s ratings are supported by its high capitalization, prudent lending policies, and its disciplined approach to risk management, in addition to its highly recognized and very stable management team. In 2012, NBK was also named among Global Finance’s list of the 50 safest banks in the world for the sixth consecutive time.

Japan says economy to grow 2.5% in fiscal 2013 TOKYO: Japan yesterday said the world’s number three economy was on track to expand 2.5 percent in the fiscal year starting in April, thanks to fresh stimulus and a recovery in overseas markets. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet approved the forecast-higher than an estimate of one-percent growth for the current year to March-on Monday morning, government officials said. The estimate is slightly higher than those from economists who have also upped their outlook on the back of a weaker yen and new stimulus measures, Dow Jones Newswires reported. “We are forecasting that the economy will recover as the global economy is expected to pick up gradually, while we’re also expecting a steady recovery in demand and an increase in jobs” at home, Chief Cabinet Secretar y Yoshihide Suga told a press briefing. The government’s top spokesman warned that several factors could impact the final growth figure, including swelling public debt and fluctuations in the yen, a key factor for the country’s trade picture. But Economic revitalization minister Akira Amari said he was confident the new target would be hit, telling Jiji Press: “Overseas risks are decreasing.” Last week, the Bank of Japan raised its growth forecast for the same fiscal year to 2.3 percent from a previous 1.6 percent

estimate, as it announced an open-ended asset buying program and new inflation target aimed at ending the deflation that has haunted the economy for years. Abe, who took office late December after a landslide national election victory, unveiled a 20.2 trillion yen ($222 billion) stimulus package

this month in the latest bid to stoke growth in the limp economy. The figure also includes local government and private-sector spending. Tokyo’s new forecast will be used to produce a fresh budget, with Abe’s cabinet set to endorse 92.6 trillion yen in spending today, Japanese media reported. — AFP

TOKYO: A woman walks by an electric stock index display of a securities firm in Tokyo as Japan’s Nikkei 225 soared 2.5 percent to 10,875.16, recouping all of Thursday’s losses and more as the yen slipped against the dollar. — AP

Ryanair lifts profit forecast on N Europe DUBLIN: Ryanair hiked its full-year profit forecast yesterday as strong demand in Northern Europe lifted average fares dramatically in the last three months of 2012. Dublin-based Ryanair, Europe’s top low-cost airline, which has used its size and low costs to undercut struggling flag carriers, hiked its profit forecast to 540 million euros ($728 million) for the year to March, up from an earlier 490-520 million euro range. “We saw strong demand out of the UK, out of Germany and out of Scandinavia and that has gone straight to our bottom line,” Chief Operating Officer Michael Cawley told Reuters. Strong demand in the run-up to Christmas and a high uptake of reserved seating options helped to lift ticket prices in northern Europe well above the company’s forecasts, he said. Sales were not as buoyant in Southern Europe, with Spain in particular “very weak,” and fare growth in Italy flat, he said. An 8 percent rise in average fares lifted the airline to a profit of 18 million euros in the traditionally weak three months

to December, compared with an average forecast by five analysts polled by Reuters of a 5 million euro loss. Fare growth compared with 5 percent in the six months to September and was way ahead of the 3 percent average forecast by three analysts polled by Reuters. Average fares will grow at a slower pace in the three months to March, however, Cawley said. Ryanair has been able to sweep up customers as traditional rivals cut back capacity in the face of slow economic growth in Europe and high fuel costs. Revenues climbed 15 percent to 969 million euros in the quarter, better than the 9.2 percent revenue growth its chief low cost rival easyJet reported last week. Ancillary revenues, which exclude ticket prices, were up 24 percent from a year earlier. “Demand is exceeding supply in the short-haul market and Ryanair is capitalizing on it,” said Davy stockbrokers analyst Stephen Furlong. “The market will be very happy with these numbers.” Higher fares helped Ryanair absorb a 24 per-

cent hike in fuel costs compared with the same quarter last year. Fuel cost inflation is expected to ease to 5 percent in the year to March 2014 from 14 percent in the current financial year. Excluding fuel, unit costs rose 4 percent in the quarter due to increases in Italian air traffic control costs, Spanish airport charges and the strength of Sterling to the Euro, Ryanair said. Next year fares will continue to rise though capacity will likely only grow by 2-3 percent in the financial year to March 2014, Cawley said, down from the 4 percent rise forecast in the current year, due to the lack of new plane deliveries planned. The airline remains in “protracted negotiations” with Boeing about a large plane order, Cawley said. In a separate statement, Ryanair said it remained confident European Union antitrust regulators would approve its bid for Irish rival Aer Lingus by March. Ryanair’s shares opened down 1 percent yesterday at 5.42, compared with a fall of 0.2 percent on the broader Irish market. — Reuters



Ford Atlas Concept front view

Ford Atlas Concept interior

Ford Atlas Concept ‘Most Significant Vehicle’ Autoweek Magazine Award at NAIAS 2013

Ford Atlas Concept rear view

DUBAI: The Ford Atlas Concept, a bold vision for the future of pickups, has been named Autoweek Magazine’s Most Significant vehicle of the 2013 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). “The Atlas Concept is clearly Most Significant winner for the things you don’t see, like hidden aerodynamic improvements and weight savings from high-strength steel and interior parts, like thinner seats,” said Bob Gritzinger, Autoweek executive editor. “Those things add up to significant fuel savings for pickup trucks down the road. A next-generation EcoBoost with Auto Start-Stop technology also signals why Atlas is a real game changer.” The Ford Atlas Concept made its worldwide debut at NAIAS on Tuesday, January 15. A design and engineering study inspired by decades of listening to customers in the places where they work and play, the concept has tomorrow’s pickup buyers in mind. Breakthrough features include active aerodynamic elements in the grille, front air dam and wheels that reduce wind resistance to save gas. Truck-specific features that improve capability, durability and productivity include a Dual-Purpose Tailgate Step

that integrates with a roof cradle to become a rack for long objects like ladders, Hidden Cargo Ramps to load ATVs and motorcycles, Trailer Backup Assist to enable accurate reversing with a trailer via the simple twist of a knob, and more. “We are thrilled by the enthusiastic response to the Ford Atlas Concept,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president for Global Product Development. “This award from Autoweek - plus overwhelming positive reaction from news media and across social channels alike - confirms Ford is the recognized thought leader in trucks, in addition to our position as truck sales leader for 36 years.” This is the sixth year in a row Autoweek has honored Ford with one of its North American International Auto Show Editors’ Choice Awards: ● 2012: 2013 Ford Fusion named Best in Show ● 2011: Ford Vertrek Concept named Best Concept ● 2010: Next-generation Ford Focus named Most Significant ● 2009: 2010 Ford Taurus named Most Significant and 2010 Ford Shelby GT500 named Most Fun ● 2008: 2009 Ford F-150 named Most Significant

Air Arabia takes delivery of first Sharklet equipped Airbus A320 First airline in Mideast to operate new generation A320 Sharklet SHARJAH: Air Arabia, the first and largest low cost carrier in the Middle East and North Africa, yesterday announced that it has taken delivery of its first Sharklet equipped Airbus A320 aircraft. Air Arabia becomes the first airline in the Middle East

to take delivery of Sharklet equipped Airbus A320, further enabling the airline to achieve increased operational efficiency. Sharklets are an option on new-build Airbus A320 Family aircraft, which are equipped with fuel-saving large wing tip

Air Arabia’s Sharklet-equipped Airbus A320 aircraft

devices. Sharklets are made from lightweight composites, and the newly designed wing-tip devices reduce fuel burn and emissions by improving the aerodynamics of the aircraft significantly. The delivery of the new aircraft marks yet another step in Air Arabia’s fleet expansion strategy, while creating the industry’s most modern fleet. The new aircraft has gone straight into service across Air Arabia’s network of 82 destinations. “We are extremely proud to become the first airline in the Middle Eastregion to take delivery of an A320 fitted with Airbus’ new, fuel saving Sharklets,” said Adel Ali, Group Chief Executive Officer, Air Arabia. “Air Arabia has a long-standing commitment to operational efficiency and fuel saving. These new wing tip devices will contribute to fulfilling our goal of becoming one of the world’s most efficient and innovative low cost airlines.” “As a strong advocate for the A320 family, it is fitting that Air Arabia has become the first carrier in the region to benefit from the four percent fuel saving our new Sharklets deliver,” said John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer, Customers, Airbus. “Air

Arabia, with their Sharklet-equipped A320s,can now assure their passengers that they are also travelling on board the world’s most environmentally friendly single-aisle aircraft.” Air Arabia has now received 15 of the 44 A320 aircraft it has ordered from Airbus in 2007. The delivery of the 44 new aircraft will be completed by 2016, and will more than double the size of Air Arabia’s fleet. It expects to take delivery of seven new A320 aircraft in 2013. The A320 Family is the world’s best-selling and most modern single aisle aircraft Family. All Air Arabia aircraft cabin interiors are fitted with a world-class comfort seats offering highest seat pitch of any economy cabin across the globe and therefore, offering passengers extra leg room to sit back and relax during their flight. Air Arabia (PJSC), listed on the Dubai Financial Market, is the Middle East and North Africa’s leading low-cost carrier. Air Arabia commenced operations in October 2003 and currently operates a total fleet of 33 new Airbus A320 aircraft, serving 82 routes from three hubs in the UAE, Morocco and Egypt.

GIC, ICBC Asia sign MOU Firms to manage new Asia-Mideast fund KUWAIT: Gulf Investment Corporation (GIC) announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ICBC (Asia) Investment Management Company Limited which took place yesterday in Kuwait. The MOU signals the interest both companies share as they partner to strengthen their respective asset management capabilities and investment product offerings. Both companies seek to benefit their investors through the manifold and growing opportunities prevailing between Asia and the Middle East Representing GIC were Dr Russell Read, Chief Investment Officer, Malek AlAjeel the Head of Business Development and Strategy and Raffaele Bertoni, Head of Debt Capital Markets. They were joined at the signing ceremony by Jack Chang, CEO and CIO of ICBC (Asia) Investment Management Company Limited. Other ICBC representatives include Ms. Judyanna Wu, Head of Fixed Income Team of ICBC (Asia) Investment Management Company Limited and Leung Chung, Head of Private Banking Department of ICBC (Asia) Limited. This partnership between GIC, the only pan-GCC investment company,

and ICBC (Asia) Investment Management, part of one of the world’s largest financial institutions, will include a framework for product distribution and potentially provides GIC access to an estimated 1.5 million high net worth Chinese individuals as

ment of a new Asia-Middle East fund which both parties plan to launch in the near future. The similarities between the Chinese and GCC economies are clear: USD-pegged or quasi-pegged currencies, export and trade driven economies with signifi-

well as government and quasi-government investment entities. In addition, this partnership will provide GCCbased investors access to a wide range of compelling opportunities in China and the rest of Asia. Both GIC and ICBC (Asia) Investment Management will lend their respective regional credit and equity expertise to the co-manage-

cant local investment and capital expenditure from government-related-entities generating strong GDP growth. Add together the obvious synergies arising from a significant increase in Middle East debt issuance and Chinese wealth creation during the next decade, the memorandum of understanding will provide both companies a solid foundation for future

success as they seek to significantly expand their asset management businesses. Commenting on signing the landmark agreement, Dr Russell Read, said: ‘GIC could not be more enthusiastic about launching this partnership with ICBC. Much like the historic benefits of the original Silk Road, this partnership seeks to provide material benefits to our investors from burgeoning trade and related business between Asia and the Middle East.’ Jack P Chang also emphasized the strong interest his company has in the GCC market: ‘ICBC views this framework as an effective way to diversify our investments and provide alternative and attractive risk-adjusted returns to our clients. We also envisage strong demand from GCC investors attracted to the ever growing array of Chinese and Asia based investments through this close cooperation with GIC.’ Established in 1983, GIC is a regional financial institution owned entirely and equally by the six GCC states. GIC strives to provide a comprehensive range of financial and asset management services that support the devel-

opment of private enterprise and economic growth in the Gulf region. GIC has helped develop and has invested substantially in a number of major projects throughout the GCC in diverse activities covering different sectors such as finance, petrochemicals, steel, power and communication among others. GIC continues to successfully maintain its distinguished presence as a powerful financial investment and asset management company generating consistent returns with a strong capital base. ICBC (Asia) Investment Management Company is part of the ICBC Group. ICBC Group is the largest bank in the People’s Republic of China and the largest bank in the world by market capitalization. It has the largest depositor base in China as well as the largest number of corporate and high net worth clients. ICBC Group has also expanded rapidly during the last several years and now has one of the largest international networks among all the Chinese banks. ICBC Group is also the leader in establishing strategic and business cooperation with the various overseas government and institutional organizations.

Burgan Bank expands its brand across Turkey KUWAIT: Burgan Bank Group yesterday announced that it has extended its regional brand platform to Turkey. Following its recent acquisition, Eurobank Tekfen will now be operating under the name of Burgan Bank - Turkey, where its subsidiaries EFG Istanbul Equities and EFG Leasing will be branded as Burgan Securities and Burgan Leasing respectively. Burgan Bank- Turkey is a continuation of the current strong branding platform that Burgan Bank enjoys, and one which echoes its values of trust as well as partnership to deliver international best practices throughout its operations. Eduardo Eguren, Chief Executive Officer of Burgan Bank Group said: “Expanding our brand into Turkey marks a key milestone in Burgan Bank’s continued efforts to building a strong regional banking franchise and, to ultimately be able to provide customers with sound financial solutions across our network of subsidiaries in the Middle East and North Africa. The Burgan Bank brand is an award winning one, and extending it is only a natural part of our expansion strategy which aims at building and acquiring scale, capabilities and footprint.” On his part, Mehmet Somnez, Chief Executive Officer of Burgan Bank - Turkey said: “Burgan Bank - Turkey is now a fully owned subsidiary of Kuwait based Burgan Bank Group. The bank is backed by a clear cut strategy that focuses on the upside geo-economic growth potential Turkey provides, along with the benefits of the bank’s wider group synergies across Jordan, Iraq, Tunisia, Algeria and Lebanon.” Burgan Bank has four majority owned subsidiaries, which include Gulf Bank Algeria - AGB (Algeria), Bank of Baghdad - BOB (Iraq & Lebanon), Jordan Kuwait Bank - JKB (Jordan) Tunis International Bank - TIB (Tunisia), and fully owned subsidiary recently acquired Burgan Bank - Turkey, (collectively known as the “Burgan Bank Group”).



Smartphone health apps abound, but usage low WASHINGTON: US consumers are being offered a cornucopia of smartphone apps to track or manage health, but only a small number of people are using them, according to a survey released yesterday. The Pew Research Center’s study found that only about seven percent of people surveyed used a smartphone app to track a health indicator like weight, diet, exercise routine or to monitor a chronic disease such as diabetes. “There’s still a low uptake in terms of apps and technology,” said lead

researcher Susannah Fox. “It is surprising. We’ve been looking at health apps since 2010, and health app uptake has been essentially flat for three years.” The research suggests that consumers are slow to latch on to smartphone technology for health even in a market with hundreds of new apps coming on the market to manage weight and track blood pressure, pregnancy, blood sugar, diabetes or medication. “There’s a proliferation of choices, and consumers are being faced with a food court of options,” Fox told AFP.

“What we see is that consumers are losing their appetite.” Fox said her research and other studies have shown that systematic tracking for health issues is helpful. “People are reporting that tracking as an activity is having an impact,” she said. “But I can’t make a judgment on whether it’s better to use paper and pencil or an app.” The researchers found that 19 percent of smartphone owners have downloaded an app related to health, although these were not necessarily used for monitoring a specific health

issue. Exercise, diet and weight features are the most popular types of health apps downloaded, the study found. Some 38 percent of health app users track their exercise, 31 percent monitor their diet and 12 percent use an app to manage their weight. Around one in seven adults surveyed track a health indicator like weight, diet or exercise routine for themselves or another person. Roughly half of those tracking their health or symptoms said they keep track of progress “in their heads,” with that 21 percent use some

form of technology, which could include spreadsheet, medical device or app. The study found that a third of all “trackers” share their data with someone else, most often a medical professional. The survey found that a “notable number” of trackers with chronic conditions said they do not keep formal records.” Some 37 percent of people with two or more conditions said they memorize progress notes, as do 48 percent of those who are monitoring a single health issue. — AFP

Head of atom smasher firmer on ‘God particle’ New subatomic particle DAVOS: The world should know with certainty by the middle of this year whether a subatomic particle discovered by scientists is a long-sought Higgs boson, the head of the world’s largest atom smasher said yesterday. Rolf Heuer, director of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, said he is confident that “towards the middle of the year, we will be there.” By then, he said reams of data from the $10 billion Large Hadron Collider on the SwissFrench border near Geneva should have been assessed. The timing could also help Scottish physicist Peter Higgs win a Noble Prize, Heuer said in an interview in the Swiss resort of Davos. CERN’s atom smasher helped scientists declare in July their discovery of a new subatomic particle that Heuer calls “very, very like” a Higgs boson, that promises a new realm of understanding the universe. The machine, which has been creating highenergy collisions of protons to investigate dark matter, antimatter and the creation of the universe, is being put to rest early this year. The data from it, however, takes longer to analyze. “Suppose the Higgs boson is a special snowflake. So you have to identify the snowflake, in a big snowstorm, in front of a background of snowfields,” Heuer said by way of analogy. “That is very difficult. You need a tremendous amount of snowfall in order to identify the snowflakes and this is why it takes time.” He said the standard model of particle physics describes only 5 percent of the universe, which many theorize occurred in a massive explosion known as the Big Bang. To explain how subatomic particles, such as electrons, protons and neutrons, were them-

selves formed, Higgs and others in the 1960s envisioned an energy field where particles interact with a key particle, the Higgs boson. The idea was that other particles attract Higgs bosons and the more they attract, the bigger their mass will be. But a big question remains: Is this new particle a variation of the Higgs boson, or the same as the Higgs boson that was predicted? The phrase “God particle,” coined by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Leon Lederman, is used by laymen, not physicists, more as an explana-

tion for how the subatomic universe works than how it all started. “Now, if there is a deviation in one of the properties of this Higgs boson, that means we open a new window, for example, hopefully into the part of the dark universe, the 95 percent of the unknown universe,” said Heuer. “If you find the deviation,” he added, “that means if it is not the - but a - Higgs boson, then we might find a fantastic window into the dark universe so we would make another giant leap from the visible to the dark.” —- AP

The law of online sharing How exactly does 3D printing work? TORONTO: A Dutch architect recently announced plans to construct a house using 3D printing, a technology that has been around for decades but has only entered the public consciousness in the last few years. Janjapp Ruijssenaars, who works with the Amsterdam-based architecture studio Universe Architecture, recently announced his plans for Landscape House, a looping infinity building that he expects will be completed in 2014, according to the Guardian. Expected to cost between $5 million and $7 million, the building will be made from 3D-printed pieces. Frequently portrayed as a seemingly magical process, 3D printing - also called additive manufacturing - involves creating a solid object by layering thin slices of material including plastic, metal and ceramic. Dutch architect Janjapp Ruijssenaars has proposed building a house using 3D printed materials. To do so, he plans to use a large machine that deposits sand and a binding agent in layers roughly five to 10 millimetres thick to create six-by-ninemetre sections of a stone-like material. (Universe Architecture) “It’s been in use for industrial contexts for at least 20 years,” says Matt Ratto, assistant professor at the University of Toronto and director of the information faculty’s Critical Making Lab. However, 3D printing has caught the public eye over the last few years as the technology has become more refined, not to mention cheaper. Some of the proposed uses have drawn widespread attention in the media, from the ability to manufacture gun parts at home to the creation of edible entrees from pureed foods. Anyone hoping for a Star Trek-type “replicator” able to generate myriad objects of varying complexity will likely be disappointed, as the technology is typically used to test the fit and functionality of prototype models or pieces in manufacturing and design projects. The emerging technology of 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, can use materials ranging from plastic to resin to metallic alloys. There are several types of 3D printers. They may use different materials, but all involve the same basic approach for “printing” an object: spraying or otherwise transferring a substance in multiple layers onto a building surface, beginning with the bottom layer. Before the printing can occur, a person must first create a 3D image of the item they want printed using a computerassisted design (CAD) software program. That object is then sliced into hundreds or

thousands of horizontal layers, which are placed one on top of the other until the completed object emerges. One type, called selective laser sintering, involves heating and solidifying granular material with a laser in a specific pattern for each slice before repeating over and over again with new layers; this technique could be used in creating figurines, for example. Another uses UV light to cure layers of resin. Others deposit material much like an automated glue gun. Ruijssenaars, the Dutch architect who intends to 3D print a house, plans to use a large machine that deposits sand and a binding agent in layers roughly five to 10 millimetres thick to create six-by-ninemetre sections of a stone-like material. Those blocks will then be used to construct the home. Ratto said the theory behind building a house out of 3D-printed blocks is sound, although it has never been attempted on such a scale. The machine that Ruijssenaars would use is essentially a larger version of the printers already being used. “I don’t think it’s a hard thing to do. The hard thing is to build a machine that would be cost-effective and reliable,” Ratto said. The technology could also be used in the future to create customized concrete blocks, a research area that is currently being explored in the U.K., Ratto said. Most of the 3D printers available, however, are smaller and not meant to build houses. Reuben Menezes, marketing manager at 3D Printing Canada, says his company sells a variety of machines with differently sized building areas. The smallest measures 13 x 13 centimetres with a height of 13 centimetres, while the largest is 90 x 60 centimetres and 90 centimetres in height. The machines are also expensive, ranging in price from $9,000 to upwards of $600,000. Menezes says 3D Printing Canada sells primarily to academic institutions and companies with research and development arms for the purpose of testing prototype parts. The Toronto-based firm 3D Prototype Designs created this 3D-printed car vent for airflow analysis prior to manufacturing. (3D Prototype Designs) There are smaller and cheaper models available for eager hobbyists, some for less than $1,000, which are often used to design toys or gadgets. Annette Kalbhenn, sales and marketing manager at 3D Prototype Designs in Toronto, says her company has been using 3D printing for rapid prototyping - creating short runs of test pieces for manufacturing processes - for about 15 years. — MCT

BOSTON: The idea of limitless growth gives sleepless nights to environmentalists, but not to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. He espouses a law of social sharing, which predicts that every year, for the foreseeable future, the amount of information you share on the Web will double. That rule of thumb can be visualized mathematically as a rapidly growing exponential curve. More simply, our online social lives are set to get significantly busier. As for Facebook, more personal data means better ad targeting. If things work out, Zuckerberg’s net worth will follow a similar trajectory to that described in his law of social sharing. That law is said to be mathematically derived from data inside Facebook. In ambition, it is closely modeled on Moore’s Law, which was conceived by the computer-processor pioneer Gordon Moore in 1965 and has been at work in every advance in computing since. Also an exponential curve, it states that every two years twice as many transistors can be fitted onto a chip of any given area for the same price, allowing processing power to get cheaper and more capable. There’s a hint of vanity in Zuckerberg’s attempt to ape Moore. But it makes sense to try to describe the mechanisms that have raised Facebook and other social-Web companies to power. The Web defines our time and is being rapidly reshaped by social content-from dumb viral videos to earnest pleas on serious issues. Facebook’s success has left older companies like Google scrambling to add social features to their own products. Zuckerberg’s Law can help us understand such a sudden change of tack from a seemingly dominant company, just as Moore’s Law has long been used to plan and explain new strategies and technologies. Inasmuch as Facebook is the company most invested in Zuckerberg’s Law, its every move can be understood as an effort to sustain the graceful upward curve of its founder’s formula. The short-term prospects look good for Zuckerberg. The original Moore’s Law is on his side; faster, cheaper computers and mobile devices have made sharing easier and allowed us to do it wherever we go. Just as important, we are willing to play along, embracing new features from Facebook and others that lead us to share things today that we wouldn’t or couldn’t have yesterday. Facebook’s most recent major product launch, last September, is clearly aimed at validating Zuckerberg’s prophecy and may provide its first real test. An upgrade to the Open Graph platform that unleashed the now ubiquitous Like

button onto the Web, it added a feature that allows apps and Web sites to automatically share your activity via Facebook as you go about your business. Users must first give a service permission to share automatically on their behalf. After that, frictionless sharing, as it has become known, makes sharing happen without your needing to click a Like button, or to even think about sharing. The most prominent early implementation was the music-streaming service Spotify, which can now automatically post on Facebook the details of every song you listen to. In the first two months of frictionless sharing, more than 1.5 billion “listens” were shared through Spotify and other music apps. News organizations like the Washington Post use the feature, making it possible for them to share every article a person reads on their sites or in a dedicated app. Frictionless sharing is also helping Facebook drag formerly offline activities onto the Web. An app for runners can now automatically post the time, distance, and path of a person’s morning run. Frictionless sharing sustains Zuckerberg’s Law by automating what used to be a manual task, thus removing a brake on the rate at which we can share. It also shows that we are willing to compromise our previous positions on how much sharing is too much. Facebook introduced a form of automatic sharing four years ago with a feature called Beacon, but it retreated after a strong backlash from users. Beacon automatically shared purchases that Facebook members made through affiliated online retailers, such as eBay. Frictionless sharing reintroduces the same basic model with the difference that it is opt-in rather than opt-out. Carl Sjogreen, a computer scientist who is a product director overseeing Open Graph, says it hasn’t elicited anything like the rage that met Beacon’s debut. “Everyone has a different idea of what they want to share, and what they want to see,” says Sjogreen. Moreover, judging by the number of Spotify updates from my Facebook friends, frictionless sharing is pretty popular. Privacy concerns will surely arise again as Facebook and others become able to ingest and process more of our personal data. Yet our urge to share always seems to win out. The potential for GPS-equipped cell phones to become location trackers, should the government demand access to our data, has long concerned some people. A South Park episode last year even portrayed an evil caricature of Apple boss Steve Jobs standing before a wall-sized map labeled “Where Everybody in the

World Is Right Now.” Six months later, to a mostly positive reception, Apple debuted a new iPhone feature called Find My Friends, which encourages users to let Apple track their location and share it. It’s not hard to explain why we seem eager to do our bit to maintain the march of Zuckerberg’s Law. Social sites are like Skinner boxes: we press the Like button and are rewarded with attention and interaction from our friends. It doesn’t take long to get conditioned to that reward. Frictionless sharing can now push the lever for us day and night, in hopes of drawing even more attention from others. Unfortunately for Zuckerberg and his law, not every part of that feedback loop can be so easily boosted. Frictionless sharing helps, but getting others to care is the bigger challenge. In 2009 a new social site called Blippy was launched; it connected with your credit card to create a Twitter-style online feed of everything you bought. That stream could be made public or shared with particular contacts. Blippy got a lot of press but not the wide adoption its cofounder Philip Kaplan had hoped

for. “Most people thought Blippy’s biggest challenge would be getting users to share their purchases,” he says. “Turns out the hard part was getting users to look at other people’s purchases. Getting people to share is a small hump. Getting them to obsess over the data-making it fun, interesting, or useful-is the big hump.” Sjogreen has that problem in his sights. He says he is working on ways to turn the impending flood of daily trivialities coming from frictionless sharing into something fun, interesting, and useful. Repackaging the raw information to make it more compelling to others is one tactic. “It’s the patterns and anomalies that matter to us,” he says. For example, if you notice that a friend just watched 23 episodes of Breaking Bad in a row, you may decide you should check out that show after all. Or if he sets a new personal record on his morning run, the app in the phone strapped to his arm could automatically tout it to friends. Perhaps Blippy would have thrived if it highlighted significant purchases like vacations, instead of simply blasting people with everything from grocery lists to fuel bills. — MCT

Exxon passes Apple as most valuable company NEW YORK: Exxon has once again surpassed Apple as the world’s most valuable company after the iPhone and iPad maker saw its stock price falter. Apple Inc.’s stock has been on the decline since the company’s quarterly earnings report Wednesday suggested that its fast growth phase, rare for a company of its size, may be coming to an end. Apple’s stock fell 2.4 percent to close Friday at $439.88 for a market capitalization of $413 billion. That followed a 12 percent drop on Thursday, the biggest one-day percentage drop for the company since 2008. Exxon Mobil Corp. gained 38 cents Friday to $91.73 for a market capitalization of $418 billion. Apple first surpassed Exxon in the summer of 2011, displacing the oil company from a perch it had held since 2005. The two companies traded places through that fall, until Apple surpassed Exxon for good in early 2012 - at least until Friday. China’s largest oil company, PetroChina, could lay claim to having hit a market capitalization even higher than either Exxon’s or Apple’s, but only based on prices on the Shanghai stock exchange, which is isolated from the rest of the financial world because of Chinese laws on foreign investment. PetroChina’s shares also trade in Hong Kong and on the New York Stock Exchange. Based on prices there, its market capitalization never went as high as $500 billion. Apple and Exxon are among only a half dozen U.S. companies to have ever reached $500 billion in market value. Apple and Microsoft Corp. are the only ones to have ever hit $600 billion. Apple’s stock price peaked in September at $705.07 on the day the iPhone 5 was released. Exxon, in the meantime, has been trading steady. Its business - oil - seems less prone to stock market ups and downs than the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech darling. Exxon, which is based in Irving, Texas, set a record in 2008 for the highest quarterly earnings by any company. In the first nine months of 2012, Exxon earned nearly $35 billion, or 10 percent more than the same period in 2011, on revenue of $367 billion. Results for the fourth quarter are due Feb. 1. — AFP


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

High doses of folic acid don’t raise cancer risk NEW YORK: People taking high doses of the B vitamin folic acid are not at an increased risk of cancer, according to an international analysis - easing some concern about the possible side effects of national programs aimed to raise intake of the vitamin. The United States and Canada have required flour to be fortified with folic acid since 1998, after deficiencies of it in pregnant women were tied to brain and spinal cord birth defects in their babies. But fortification isn’t required in Western Europe, for example, partly out of concern that the extra folic acid might slightly increase people’s risk of cancer

due to its role in cell growth. Cells, including cancer cells, need folate - the natural form of folic acid - to grow and divide. “Folic acid supplementation does not substantially increase or decrease incident of site-specific cancer during the first 5 years of treatment,” researchers wrote in The Lancet. “Fortification of flour and other cereal products involves doses of folic acid that are, on average, an order of magnitude smaller than the doses used in these trials. For the analysis, the researchers combined data from 13 separate trials that randomly assigned participants to daily folic acid or a vitamin-free placebo and recorded who went on to

develop cancer. The studies included a total of close to 50,000 volunteers who were followed for just over five years, on average. During that time, 7.7 percent of people in the folic acid groups, and 7.3 percent in the placebo groups, were diagnosed with any kind of cancer, a difference that could have been due to chance, researchers said. Likewise, there was no increased risk of individual cancers including colon, prostate, lung or breast cancer - attributed to folic acid. Most trials used daily doses of folic acid between 0.5 and 5 milligrams. In the one study that used a much larger dose, 40 mg daily, there was still no difference

in cancer diagnoses. The total daily amount of folic acid through flour fortification is less than 0.5 mg a day for most in the United States. Folic acid is also naturally found in spinach, asparagus, lettuce and other greens, with a recommended daily upper limit of 1.0 mg. “The conclusion you can make from this is that over a relatively short period of time, there was no significant benefit or harm,” said John Baron from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth in Lebanon, new Hampshire, who worked on the review. Most cancers take 10 to 20 years to develop, so it’s hard to tell from shorter studies like this one if there really is no

link or if the researchers didn’t follow people for long enough to see an association, whether positive or negative, he added. The researchers agreed that the study shouldn’t be the last work on the potential side effects of folic acid. For now, said nutrition researcher Joshua Miller of Rutgers University in New Jersey, people might want to avoid piling supplements on top of multivitamins and fortified food. “People should realize if they’re eating breakfast cereals and bread and pastas, they’re getting a good amount of folic acid in food,” he said. “I think they should try not to exceed the upper limit.” —Reuters

Do penalties for smokers and the obese make sense? NEW YORK: Faced with the high cost of caring for smokers and overeaters, experts say society must grapple with a blunt question: Instead of trying to penalize them and change their ways, why not just let these health sinners die prematurely from their unhealthy habits? Annual health care costs are roughly $96 billion for smokers and $147 billion for the obese, the government says. These costs accompany sometimes heroic attempts to prolong lives, including surgery, chemotherapy and other measures. But despite these rescue attempts, smokers tend to die 10 years earlier on average, and the obese die five to 12 years prematurely, according to various researchers’ estimates. And attempts to curb smoking and unhealthy eating frequently lead to backlash: Witness the current legal tussle over New York City’s first-of-its-kind limits on the size of sugary beverages and the vicious fight last year in California over a ballot proposal to add a $1-per-pack cigarette tax, which was ultimately defeated. “This is my life. I should be able to do what I want,” said Sebastian Lopez, a college student from Queens, speaking last September when the New York City Board of Health approved the soda size rules. Critics also contend that tobacco- and calorie-control measures place a disproportionately heavy burden on poor people. That’s because they: Smoke more than the rich, and have higher obesity rates. Have less money so sales taxes hit them harder. One study last year found poor, nicotine- dependent smokers in New York - a state with very high cigarette taxes - spent as much as a quarter of their entire income on smokes. Are less likely to have a car to shop elsewhere if the corner bodega or convenience store stops stocking their vices. Critics call these approaches unfair, and believe they have only a marginal effect. “Ultimately these things are weak tea,” said Dr Scott Gottlieb, a physician and fellow at the right-of-center think tank, the American Enterprise Institute. Gottlieb’s view is debatable. There are plenty of public health researchers that can show smoking control measures have brought down smoking rates and who will argue that smoking taxes are not regressive so long as money is earmarked for programs that help poor people quit smoking. And debate they will. There always seems to be a fight whenever this kind of public health legislation comes up.

NEBRASKA: File photo shows a man smokes in Omaha. —AP

And it’s a fight that can go in all sorts of directions. For example, some studies even suggest that because smokers and obese people die sooner, they may actually cost society less than healthy people who live much longer and develop chronic conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. So let’s return to the original question: Why provoke a backlash? If 1 in 5 US adults smoke, and 1 in 3 are obese, why not just get off their backs and let them go on with their (probably shortened) lives? Because it’s not just about them, say some health economists, bioethicists and public health researchers. “Your freedom is likely to be someone else’s harm,” said Daniel Callahan, senior research scholar at a bioethics thinktank, the Hastings Center. Smoking has the most obvious impact. Studies have increasingly shown harm to nonsmokers who are unlucky enough to work or live around heavy smokers. And several studies have shown heart attacks and asthma attack rates fell in counties or cities that adopted big smoking bans. “When you ban smoking in public places, you’re protecting everyone’s health, including and especially the nonsmoker,” said S. Jay Olshansky, a professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago’s School of Public Health. It can be harder to make the same argument about soda-size restrictions or other legislative attempts to discourage excessive calorie consumption, Olshansky added. “When you eat yourself to death, you’re pretty much just harming yourself,” he said. But that viewpoint doesn’t factor in the burden to everyone else of paying for the diabetes care, heart surgeries and other medical expenses incurred by obese people, noted John Cawley, a health economist at Cornell University. “If I’m obese, the health care costs are not totally borne by me. They’re borne by other people in my health insurance plan and - when I’m older - by Medicare,” Cawley said. From an economist’s perspective, there would be less reason to grouse about unhealthy behaviors by smokers, obese people, motorcycle riders who eschew helmets and other health sinners if they agreed to pay the financial price for their choices. That’s the rationale for a provision in the Affordable Care Act - “Obamacare” to its detractors that starting next year allows health insurers to charge smokers buying individual policies up to 50 percent higher premiums. A 60-year-old could wind up paying nearly $5,100 on top of premiums. The new law doesn’t allow insurers to charge more for people who are overweight, however. It’s tricky to play the insurance game with overweight people, because science is still sorting things out. While obesity is clearly linked with serious health problems and early death, the evidence is not as clear about people who are just overweight. That said, public health officials shouldn’t shy away from tough anti-obesity efforts, said Callahan, the bioethicist. Callahan caused a public stir this week with a paper that called for a more aggressive public health campaign that tries to shame and stigmatize overeaters the way past public health campaigns have shamed and stigmatized smokers. — AP

Nearby lightning may be linked to migraines NEW YORK: Weather has long been considered one of many potential migraine triggers, but a US study now links lightning, specifically, to the onset of the severe headaches that plague millions. Researchers. whose work appeared in the journal Cephalalgia found that, based on headache logs and weather data for the two U.S. states of Ohio and Missouri, people were 28 percent more likely to experience a migraine on days when lightning struck within 40 kilometers (25 miles) of their home. “We’re very surprised and very happy with the results in that this is the first study to link lightning to migraines,” said senior author Vincent Martin, from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio. Migraines are severe headaches - sometimes accompanied by light sensitivity, visual hallucinations or nausea - that can disable a person for hours or even days at a time. The majority of migraine sufferers are women. Martin told Reuters Health that a migraine may result from certain triggers, such as stress, lack of sleep and dehydration. Previous research has also found links between the onset of migraines and high barometric pressure, high temperatures and high humidity. But most of the past studies on weather and migraines relied on an individual’s observations and did not always account for other, possibly unseen,

local weather conditions, the researchers wrote. For the new study, they used information collected from three sensors that track lightning near Cincinnati, Ohio, and five sensors near St. Louis, Missouri. Those sensors allowed the researchers to know when and where lightning struck, and the intensity of each strike. They also used the headache diaries from two previous studies of 90 migraine sufferers in those areas who were between 18 and 65 years of age. In those diaries, the participants recorded their headaches for three to six months. After comparing the weather data with the headache journals, the researchers found that a lightning strike within 40 kilometers (25 miles) of a person’s house was linked to a 31 percent increased risk of any kind of headache, and a 28 percent increased risk of the more severe migraine headache. Martin said that could mean an extra one to three migraines per month for an individual, but that it depends on the person and the weather. As for how lightning might affect migraines, Martin said it could be that the electromagnetic waves and ozone created by the lightning have something to do with it. “The other theory is that when these thunderstorms roll in they can create more allergy spores in the environment,” he said, which could create problems for some people. — Reuters

MINNESOTA: North Memorial Ambulance community paramedic Peter Carlson begins his day at the facility’s garage where he gathers up gear and supplies for his day’s home visits in Minneapolis. —MCT

MINNESOTA: Peter Carlson checks the blood pressure of 86-year-old Ericka Bruvelis.

Paramedic trades in sirens for a Honda MINNEAPOLIS: As a paramedic, Peter Carlson is used to racing to people’s homes. But on his way to see 86-year-old Erika Bruvelis earlier this month, he stopped for coffee and parked outside her Minneapolis house for several minutesreluctant to arrive too early. In this case, no one had called 911, and with any luck, no one would go to the hospital. Carlson, 28, is one in the first wave of “community paramedics” in Minnesota and the nation. Instead of responding to emergencies, his job is to try to prevent them. Since October, Carlson has been paying house calls on dozens of patients as part of an innovative program to keep the frail and elderly out of the emergency room. Depending on what they need, he might do a blood test, call Meals on Wheels or help arrange for a wheelchair ramp. Over Christmas, he even baked cookies for one of his patients. In the last two years, Minnesota has become the epicenter of the community paramedic movement, which advocates say could save a fortune in health care costs if it helps patients stay out of the hospital. In 2011, the nation’s first training program opened at Hennepin Technical College and Minnesota became the first state to adopt a formal certification program. The first graduates, including Carlson, were certified last summer. “We are kind of inventing this,” admits Carlson, one of nine community paramedics employed by North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale, Minn. After five years as a traditional paramedic, Carlson volunteered to get the extra training for his new role, which is more about chronic-illness issues than gunshot wounds and heart attacks. Now he rotates between the two roles: two days in an ambulance, one day as a community paramedic, driving his Honda Accord to scheduled appointments. “The way that we’re looking at it, it is a lot cheaper in the long run,” said Barb

Andrews, who coordinates North Memorial’s community paramedic program. As a paramedic herself, Andrews said she was struck by how many emergency calls seem eminently preventable-when an elderly patient mixes up his meds, for example, or slips and falls on a throw rug. “So many times in my career I’ve said, ‘If only ...’” she said. “If only this patient had understood this better. If only somebody made sure they had their medications.” That, she said, is the idea behind the community paramedic. Carlson dropped his oversized backpack on the bed and greeted his patient, who was perched on a wicker chair in the corner of her bedroom. “How are you feeling?” he said, raising his voice so she could hear him. Bruvelis put on a game face. “Feeling OK today,” she said softly. But she clearly was not. “Today is kind of a low-energy day,” explained her 44-year-old son, Paul Bruvelis. For the last three weeks, he said, his mother had been too weak to leave the secondfloor bedroom of her century-old house. Normally she’s a “very independent woman” who loves to cook and bake and garden, he said. When he called her doctor’s office several weeks back, a nurse suggested sending a community paramedic to check on her. “I’d never really heard of it,” Paul Bruvelis said, but he was grateful-he dreaded having to take his mother to the clinic in this condition. This was Carlson’s third visit, and he chatted with mother and son like old friends. “So how was New Years?” he asked. He unzipped his backpack and took out a stethoscope and blood pressure cuff, and a couple of kits for blood and urine samples. “Are you dizzy?” he asked. She nodded. “What’s going to make you feel better?” he said. “That is a good question,” she replied. Carlson suspected a urinary tract infection, but he would have to send the samples to the lab for testing, just to be sure. There’s no calling 911 to

get a community paramedic. All visits are scheduled by a doctor or clinic. “The doctors really see the paramedic as an extension of their eyes and ears out into the community,” said Dr Mark Bixby, medical director for North Memorial’s 12 primary care clinics. Bixby said paramedics can be especially helpful when patients are struggling with chronic illness. As a doctor, he said, he might wonder why a patient with diabetes is having trouble controlling his blood pressure or blood sugar. By going into their home, the community paramedic may spot the trouble: Maybe the patient didn’t fill a prescription. Or the refrigerator is empty. “They can figure out stuff that you can’t do from an office.” Not all patients like the idea, Bixby said. “People are private,” he said, and some “see this as an intrusion.” But already, there’s evidence that it’s kept numerous patients out of the emergency room. Carlson sees himself as a troubleshooter and he’s armed with a long list of social services to refer to patients who need extra help. “We don’t look to be in somebody’s life for a long time,” he said. “I don’t like the idea of forming dependency. We like to get in, figure out what needs to be done, and ‘See you later.’” For now, there’s no charge for his visit-North Memorial is covering the cost for patients at its own clinics, said Andrews, the program coordinator. They expect insurers to cover it eventually and, by state law, Medical Assistance will pay $60 an hour. In the long run, as health reform changes the way hospitals are paid, they stand to share in the savings if they can reduce ER visits and ambulance runs. For Bruvelis, the visit paid off quickly: Lab tests later that day confirmed that she had a bladder infection, and she got antibiotics right away. “It has made a world of difference,” said Paul Bruvelis. “I think this service has been a godsend.” —MCT

Tallinn first EU capital to give residents free ticket to ride TALLINN: Tallinn is the first EU capital to offer its residents free public transport, and though the move aimed at driving down car pollution is proving popular, visitors feel let down and others are accusing City Hall of a campaign gimmick. Since the start of the year, hopping on a bus, tram or trolleybus has become a fare-free proposition for Tallinn’s 420,000 residents. All they must do is validate a special pass proving they are eligible. Pavel Ilmjarv, a 19-year-old student, says it’s taken a while to get used to the new routine of swiping his pass against a special reader at the start of each journey. “It’s such a new thing, I often forget to do it,” Ilmjarv said, adding he previously didn’t need to swipe his monthly bus, which cost 23 euros. “I’m not complaining, I love it,” he said, a sentiment echoed by the vast majority of resident commuters. With Estonia’s average monthly salary at about 900 euros and around half the city’s population relying on public transport, a family of four could save hundreds of euros in transport costs each year. But it’s a different story for non-residents. As a Tallinn University student from Estonia’s coastal resort town of Parnu, Eve-who did not want to provide her last name-doesn’t qualify for a free ride. Even though she lives in the capital, her registered hometown is outside the city. She gets an 8.50-euro student discount on the standard 23 euro pass. Meanwhile, visitors must shell out 1.60 euro per ticket. “People from rural areas generally earn less than those in capital. I believe that in such a small state, transport in the capital where many people have to come

not only for shopping, but also to visit state offices, should be free for everyone,” she told AFP at a tram stop in front of the university. For nonTallinners, the fine for being caught

riding without a ticket could be as much as 60 euros-almost equal to Estonia’s monthly unemployed benefit. Joblessness in this Baltic state of 1.3 million which broke from the

TALLINN: People sit in a bus, in Tallinn, the first EU capital to offer its residents free public transport. —AFP

TALLINN: A bus driver on a street in Tallinn, the first EU capital to offer its residents free public transport. —AFP

Soviet Union in 1991, joined NATO and the EU in 2004 and the eurozone in 2011, is hovering around 10 percent. Toomas Pirn, a spokesman for Tallinn City Hall, says the free pass is already encouraging residents to leave their cars at home, easing both pollution and congestion in the picturesque, historic city centre. “We hope to limit the number of cars on streets, and via that, the pollution of city air. Studies have shown that in Tallinn cars pollute the air most,” Pirn says. About half of all Tallinners have already taken advantage of the free public transport, he says, noting the project will cost the city around 12.4 million euros per year-about a quarter of its annual public transport budget. Data collected from usage of the special resident passes has caused some to raise privacy concerns. The Estonian Data Protection Inspectorate has warned people’s personal information and journey habits could be compromised, because the city intends to keep records of their movements for up to seven years. Others believe City Hall, governed by the left-leaning Centre Party, is more interested in currying voter support ahead of a municipal election this October than in fighting pollution. Nothing of the sort, insists Deputy Mayor Taavi Aas. He hopes the European Commission will soon name Tallinn as Europe’s Green Capital, a title held this year by Nantes in France before going to the Danish capital Copenhagen in 2014. “We’re seeking the title for 2018 and hope that being the first EU capital offering a free ride to all city residents is among steps that helps us to get it,” he told AFP. —AFP

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


Dar Al Shifa Hospital performs a rare surgical case Hydatid Cyst was completely removed. The operation was successfully performed where the larvae had to be killed first. With special fluid, the cyst was removed to prevent serious complication and cyst rupture which result in profound Hypotension. There were no side effects, which might have included extreme low blood pressure and the patient did well post the operation. Dr Abdullah Al -Haddad received his fellowship in colon and rectum surgery and completed the board examination for both the American and Canadian Bard of Surgery and the American Board of Colon Rectal Surgery. He was also granted the position of voluntary assistant professor at the University of Miami, USA.

KUWAIT: Dar Al Shifa Hospital’s surgical team, under the leadership of Dr Abdullah AlHaddad as well as his assistant Dr Khaled Juma’ah Zadah with the support of the anesthesia team, was successfully able to completely cure and remove Hydatid Cyst from a midaged patient. Hydatid disease is referred to as echinococcosis or echinococcal disease. It results from an infection due to a tapeworm of genus Echinococcus. Human echinococcosis is a zoonotic infection. This microscopic tapeworm is found in foxes, dogs and cats. Human cases are rare. The disease may produce cysts in the liver, lungs, brain and other organs (liver being the most common followed by lung). The incidence is greater in sheep-raising countries like Australia, Brazil, South Africa and Panama. Symptoms include Liver cysts causing abdominal pain, jaundice or a palpable mass. Dr Abdullah Al Haddad, Specialist General Surgery said: “The patient’s condition dates back to almost 12 years, where she had completed a round trip to the region. About a year ago, the patient began suffering from extreme pain in her right abdominal side, and eventually sought out many doctors. The pain worsened during the past month and became a chronic symptom, in which an abdominal sonography was conducted, only to find out that she has been experiencing symptoms of Hydatid Cyst. “ “The patient was admitted to the hospital where comprehensive checkups on the liver and the blood were performed. It was evident that the patient was suffering from a 20X13 cm Hydatid cyst case, and one that contains about 1 liter of Cystic Fluid. Specialized checkups were also conducted in the patient’s blood stream along with an MRI & CT Scan,” added Dr Al-Haddad. The patient underwent a 2:30 hour laparoscopic surgical procedure where the

CDC: Flu seems to level off except in the West New government figures show that flu cases seem to be leveling off nationwide. Flu activity is declining in most regions although still rising in the West. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says hospitalizations and deaths

spiked again last week, especially among the elderly. The CDC says quick treatment with antiviral medicines is important, in particular for the very young or old. The season’s first flu case resistant to treatment with Tamiflu was reported Friday.

Eight more children have died from the flu, bringing this season’s total pediatric deaths to 37. About 100 children die in an average flu season. There is still vaccine available although it may be hard to find. The CDC has a website that can help. —AP


W H AT ’ S O N

Saif and Secure introduces Bosch Advantage Line Security Systems



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 ECC organizes Omra trip for Egyptians


ecretary general of the Egyptian Community Council (ECC), Dr Azmi Abdul Fattah congratulated all Egyptians on the second anniversary of the January 25 revolution urging everybody to consolidate and unite for the best of Egypt as a whole. On this occasion, Abdul Fattah announced that the council would organize its annual Omra trip pointing out that it would last eight days in the period of February 21 till 28.

Shirva feast


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

Goan Culinary Club


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

Basketball Academy


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

APAK Xmas-New Year celebration


ngamaly Pravasi Association Kuwait (APAK) will conduct its Christmas and New Year celebrations on February 1, 2013 Friday at Abbassiya United Indian School Auditorium from 5:30 pm - 10 pm. The meeting will be chaired by the Advisory Board Chairman Jacob Pynadath in the presence of President Bacon Joseph, Secretary Martin Kurian, Treasurer Sajeev Paul and other famous personalities in Kuwait. Various programs will be followed like Christmas Carol and Orchestra by the members and children to make the event colourful. All Angamaly constituency residents residing in Kuwait are kindly requested to attend with their family, friends and neighbours to make this event a memorable one.

Kitchen Rock Band music


itchen Rock’s Valentine program on February 15 at Asia Asia Royal Hall, Al-Watiya Complex, Kuwait City, 7pm onwards. Enjoy the New Version band, Selda band and Freefall band.

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


osch Advantage Line Security Systems in the State of Kuwait saw its formal introduction to market in June 2012 via the appointment of Saif & Secure Co, who would be exclusively distributing Bosch Advantage Line. They are currently vending a host of intrusion, access control and CCTV products from the Far East and are looking forward to standardizing their product offering by stocking and selling BOSCH Advantage Line Series of Products through their showrooms and network of business contacts. The Bosch Advantage Line Product Launch Event by Saif and Secure Co was held on January 20 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel which was a grand success with a huge turnout of security and safety related companies, showing immense interest in understanding the Bosch Technology to provide the best possible solutions to end clients. Saif and Secure provides a range of security and CCTV services. They believe in one single Motto “ Better safe than sorry” therefore with the increasing

crime rate and growing need to monitor one`s valuable assets, professional security solutions have become the need of the hour. According to Kaizar Kabir, the sales manager of the company, “Advantage Line is a very interesting and important addition to the Bosch Family. It promises the same Bosch quality and standards at a much affordable and economic price range. We have successfully completed several projects in the retail sectors, oil &

gas sectors, hospitals, schools and small and medium level businesses, and currently selling and installing the BOSCH advantage line to several customers. BOSCH advantage line will provide with the much required international standards within the budget. “ Saif and Secure provides complete solution, which entails hardware, specialized design and installation, software etc. In order to make the area secure, it requires a professional approach; Saif

and Secure have professional pre sales security engineers who are well versed with variety of business, such as supermarkets, hospitals, warehouses, retails stores, private homes etc. Customer satisfaction is our ultimate goal; we believe in retaining our customers for ever, therefore we provide excellent after sales services. Bosch Advantage line is known for excellent product range and innovative designs and technology excellences.

helpline sings ‘Alghanim Integrated Maintenance Services’


he Engineering Group’s Marketing department has teamed up in a unique way with Kuwait’s 1808080 helpline, in order to promote Alghanim’s Integrated maintenance Services. Starting January 13, 2013, and throughout the rest of the year, the 1808080 helpline will sing the Engineering Maintenance hotline number and thank all customers for supporting and trusting Alghanim’s engineering maintenance services over the last 50 years. In 2012, approximately 6,000 maintenance calls were directed to Alghanim Engineering from this helpline. This year every 1808080 caller will hear about our new and innovative Integrated Maintenance

Servicers and hotline numbers during the first few seconds of their call, while waiting to speak to someone. The 1808080 helpline is the most-called helpline in the country, and is the preferred source for information about commercial services, especially among Kuwait nationals, whether they are looking for restaurants, bank locations, ministry work timings or the best service provider for all maintenance works in Kuwait (CAC, elevator, electrical, swimming pools and sewage maintenance). We believe this creative new marketing channel will not only bring us closer to our customers, but it will also bring us another step closer to becoming the ‘single-point reliable maintenance provider for all residential needs’.

Fun, laughter and frolicking mark IES Winter Carnival


eeks of planning and countless hours of work came to fruition on January 25, Friday when Indian Educational School held its sixth Winter Carnival that transformed the school premises into an enchanted land filled with merriment, magic, mouth

watering delicacies, myriad games, multitude of entertainment shows and so on. The resplendent carnival stalls were bustling with cheerful crowds that flocked into the venue. The festivity and merriment began when N K Ramachandra Menon, the

Chairman of Bhavans Middle East officially declared the winter carnival open in the morning. Since then, hundreds of students, parents and people from all walks of life turned out to play games of skill and chance, enjoy live entertainment and just have fun. “The primary purpose of holding the Winter Carnival is to foster a sense of spirit between the school, its students, and the community by meeting informally,” said the man at the helm, T Premkumar, the Principal of IES Bhavans. “This is a chance for students to hone their social skills,” a parent of a school volunteer added. “The students put in a lot of time and energy to get the carnival set up, to run games and to provide entertainment throughout the day. Students really demonstrated their leadership skills and I am glad to see the confidence instilled in the students by their teachers that they interact with the onlookers freely and assertively.” The school principal also credited the sponsors who made the event possible. “We had 14 sponsors who stepped forward and sponsored prizes. We couldn’t have done this without their support.” The main stage included a line-up of various cultural events - DJ, Dances of the world, Instrumental Music, Fashion Show and many more organized by the teachers and students of IES joining hands with Bhavans’ Cultural Wing, Rhythmscapes Academy of Dance. Additional entertainment included a Baby Show and the venue was agog with parents of toddlers who took pride in introducing their prized possessions to the wide world. Dozens of games organized and run by students and teachers included Spin and Win, Feeding the Lion, Coconut Shy, Hoopla, Bingo, Deal or No Deal, Car Racing, Hat me, Kill the Rat, Golf Set, Win with a Grin, Test your nerve, Guess the Weight and many more. Instant Sketches and Face painting attracted multitudes. The Green Corner was also agog with people who flocked in to buy flowering plants. Henna, Nail art and Tattooing also had brought in many a visitor. The White Elephant stall was abuzz with children and adults who bought toys, books, educational DVDs and even digital cameras for a song. Food stalls selling mouth watering delicacies witnessed long queues of epicures who relished Arabic, Chinese and Indian cuisine. The food kiosk put up by the Home Science Club of Bhavans was thronged by gourmets. The excitement and exhilaration reached a crescendo in the evening when the raffle coupon draw began. Consolation and lucky draw prizes including Certina Swiss watches, exercise machines, Apple products, Nikon cameras and Giordano watches were given away to the winners, who are none other than the members of Bhavans’ esteemed parent community. Coupon numbers 1678, 0697 and 1336 bagged first, second and third prizes respectively. Bhavans is synonymous with success and perfection. Bhavans strives for perfection and elegance in all its endeavours from academics to interschool competitions. The IES Winter Carnival, as envisioned, brought parents, teachers and students together, sharing the spirit of camaraderie, accomplishment and value based education that sets Bhavans apart from petty parochial institutions that focus on short term goals through blunt and bland system of schooling.


W H AT ’ S O N

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. ■■■■■■■

MEPI Alumni Network hosts Network Debate Conference


n January 23, the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Alumni Network-Kuwait Chapter, in conjunction with Gulf Bank and AMIDEAST, organized a debate conference following the Model United Nations (MUN) format for its alumni. The debate focused on a US resolution to stop domestic violence in the region. “The main purpose of the debate conference is to prepare the alumni to a MEPI Alumni Debate Conference in Tunis. As a result of Gulf Bank’s assistance in sponsoring our events, we were able to train the MEPI alumni and host this debate conference.” said Salma Tayeh, MEPI Alumni Coordinator The MEPI alumni simulated the United Nation debate system where they represented country dele-

gates and debated on social topics such as “Domestic Violence”. The first rank winner was Faisal Al-Fuhaid, who represented the delegate of Kuwait. The second rank was Abrab Al-Shimmari, who represented the delegate of Egypt and the third rank was the delegate of Saudi Arabia, Muna Albuloushi. The judging panel included Yasmine Gad, English Instructor at the Gulf University for Science and Technology (GUST), Fatima Al-Rashidi-Protection Associate at the UNHCR, Khaled Al-Otaibi-Assistant Manager at Gulf Bank, and Salma Tayeh, MEPI Alumni Coordinator. “The MEPI Alumni Network aspires to engage youth in Kuwait by providing civic engagement and developmental opportunities to its alumni”, said Salma Tayeh, MEPI Alumni Coordinator.


UC College Aluva Alumni Kuwait celebrates Annual Day Kuwait Tamil Sangam to hold mega musical nite


uwait Tamil Sangam is organising a ‘Mega Musical Nite’ on February 1, 2013 at the American International School, Maidan Hawally from 5 pm onwards. In this program KTS is hosting renowned singers Anuradha Sriram and Velmurugan accompanied by Robo Shankar and Priyadarshini. The Sri Raaj Melodies will provide orchestra.


he UC College Aluva Alumni Kuwait’s 3rd Annual Day celebrations was held from 6:30 pm onwards on Friday, January 18, 2013 at the Jabriya Indian School, Kuwait. Prof Dr Varghese John, former Principal of U C College inaugurated the event and Prof. Dr Jyothi Mariam John former Head of Chemistry Department of UC College and Prof N Geethakumari former Head of Physics Department of U C College and Prof Rani Varghese former Head of Botany Department felicitated on the occasion. Anitha E Varghese

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.

presided the function. Cyriac George, secretary presented the annual report. The annual general body meeting was held and the following new office bearers and committee members were elected unanimously. Mohammed Sageer - President; Cyriac George - Vice-President; Bobby Paul - Secretary; Dr Sunila Kurien - Joint Secretary; Jimmy Paul Treasurer; and Prakash Menon - Joint Treasurer. Executive committee members: Anitha E Varghese; Asif Pedikat; Balakrishnan; Bipin Madhavan; Job

Antony; Kochumon Francis; Mary Mathews; Narendran Menon; Reena George; Sajeev Mathew; Sankar G Nair; Thomas Chacko; and Yesudas Xavier. Melodious songs by Strings of Kuwait, Mimics Parade by Super Jokes Team, dances and various talent programs performed on this day entertained the guests and audience well. Nikhila Thomas anchored the program and presented a general quiz. Bobby Paul proposed the vote of thanks. Dinner and surprise gifts also were served.

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

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

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

Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) birthday celebrated


hittagong Samity Kuwait arranged a gathering to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) on January 24, 2012 at Gulshan Hotel Hall Room in Kuwait City. In this mehfil Brig General Nasimul Gani (Defense Attach for Kuwait, Qatar) was present as Chief Guest. First Secretary (Labour), presently in charge of counselor section Ali Reza and Jahangir Hussain Patwary president of Bangladesh Expatriate Business man Association (BEBA) and

Mahmud Ali Haji President Of Jatiya part Chapter Kuwait, Abdus Samad, Haji Zubair, Khaled Chowdhury and Aajker Surjoday Barua Chief Yakub and General Secretary of Bangladesh Nationalist party (BNP) Chapter Kuwait Kamrul Islam was present as special guest. Also present were local representative from electronic and print media, businessman, social worker, representative from Bang Awami League, Jube League, Sramik League, Volunter

league and Bang Nationalist Party (BNP) Jubu Dal, Volunter Dal, Jatiya Party and Liberal Democrative Party and Comilla Samity, Jalalabad Samitysamol Sylhet, Noakhali samity, Barisal Samity, Faridpur Samity, and many distinguished personalities from various sectors of Bangladesh community as Jamal Uddin, Omar Faruk Nahid, Abdul Manna Sandipi, Tawhidul Alam, Didar, Shahajahan, Abdulla Mohammed (Roman) with many others.

In this mehfil, Mvl Kamrul Islam presented verses from Holy Quran and hadith in the praise of the Prophet (PBUH) and revealed the light of Holy Quran and sunnah of Prophet (PBUH). Jafar Ahmed Chowdhury, President of Chittagong Samity welcomed the gathering and proposed the vote of thanks respectively and also advised the community to follow the guide line in the daily life as Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) guided. A delicious dinner was also arranged for the audience.

Kuwait Carnatic Music Forum Thyagaraja program


n January 31, 6:30 pm onwards, NJ Nandini disciple of Bombay Jayasree who sang the title song in the Oscar nominated movie Life of Pi and 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 will perform. Full day classical music program on Feb 1 9 am - 4.30 pm. Participants: music students and devotees. Pancharathna keerthanaalapanam at 5 pm at the Indian Community School Salmiya (senior girls). All are welcome.



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

Animal Cops Phoenix After The Attack I’m Alive Wildest Islands Karina: Wild On Safari Bad Dog Call Of The Wildman Animal Battlegrounds Clinically Wild: Alaska Wildlife SOS The Really Wild Show Too Cute! Dogs 101 Crocodile Hunter Wildest Islands Animal Cops Philadelphia Call Of The Wildman Wildlife SOS Shamwari: A Wild Life Animal Precinct Wildest Islands Animal Battlegrounds The Really Wild Show Dogs 101 Animal Airport Animal Airport My Cat From Hell Monkey Life Bondi Vet Call Of The Wildman Animal Battlegrounds Wildest Islands Wildlife SOS

00:00 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Specials 00:40 Come Dine With Me: South Africa 01:35 Antiques Roadshow 02:25 House Swap 03:10 Saturday Kitchen 2008/09 04:05 House Swap 04:50 Come Dine With Me 05:40 Antiques Roadshow 06:35 House Swap 07:20 Saturday Kitchen 2008/09 07:45 DIY SOS 08:20 Trish’s Mediterranean Kitchen 09:10 Gok’s Clothes Roadshow 09:55 Bargain Hunt 10:40 Antiques Roadshow 11:35 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Specials 12:15 Come Dine With Me: South Africa 13:10 Trish’s Mediterranean Kitchen 14:00 Fantasy Homes In The City 14:50 Bargain Hunt 15:35 Antiques Roadshow 16:30 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Specials 17:10 Come Dine With Me: South Africa 18:05 Britain’s Dream Homes 19:00 Rhodes Across The Caribbean 19:45 Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey 20:40 Come Dine With Me 21:30 Fantasy Homes By The Sea

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

08:45 09:00 09:30 09:45 10:30 10:45 11:30 11:45 12:30 13:00 13:30 13:45 14:00 15:00 16:00 17:30 18:00 19:30 19:45 20:00 20:30

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

BBC World News BBC World News World Business Report BBC World News World Business Report BBC World News World Business Report BBC World News Hardtalk BBC World News World Business Report Sport Today BBC World News GMT With George Alagiah Impact With Mishal Husain Hardtalk BBC World News World Business Report Sport Today BBC World News BBC Focus On Africa

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

00:40 Chowder 01:30 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 01:55 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 02:20 Foster’s Home For... 02:45 Foster’s Home For... 03:10 Courage The Cowardly Dog 04:00 The Amazing World Of Gumball 04:25 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 04:50 Adventure Time 05:15 The Powerpuff Girls 05:40 Generator Rex 06:05 Ben 10 06:55 Angelo Rules 07:00 Casper’s Scare School 08:00 Mucha Lucha 08:25 Johnny Test 08:45 Regular Show 09:05 Total Drama Action

09:30 Total Drama Action 09:55 Ben 10: Omniverse 10:20 Young Justice 10:45 Thundercats 11:10 Adventure Time 12:00 The Amazing World Of Gumball 12:50 Foster’s Home For... 13:15 Foster’s Home For... 13:40 Courage The Cowardly Dog 14:30 Powerpuff Girls 15:20 Angelo Rules 16:10 Batman: The Brave And The Bold 16:35 Young Justice 17:00 Ben 10: Omniverse 17:20 Johnny Test 18:00 Level Up 18:25 The Amazing World Of Gumball 18:50 Adventure Time 19:15 Regular Show 19:40 Mucha Lucha 20:05 Total Drama Action

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

Gold Rush Gold Divers Around The World In 80 Ways Mythbusters Border Security Auction Kings How Stuff Works How It’s Made Sons Of Guns Mythbusters Bionic Builders You Have Been Warned Border Security Auction Kings Auction Kings How Stuff Works How It’s Made Gold Rush Gold Divers Around The World In 80 Ways Border Security Auction Kings Auction Kings Ultimate Survival You Have Been Warned Mythbusters Sons Of Guns How Stuff Works How It’s Made Auction Kings Auction Kings Flying Wild Alaska Man, Woman, Wild Ultimate Survival

00:10 Hannah Montana 00:35 Brandy & Mr Whiskers 01:25 Replacements 02:15 Emperor’s New School 03:05 Brandy & Mr Whiskers 03:55 Replacements 04:45 Emperor’s New School 05:35 Brandy & Mr Whiskers 06:00 Phineas And Ferb 06:15 Suite Life On Deck 06:40 My Babysitter’s A Vampire 07:05 A.N.T. Farm 07:30 Phineas And Ferb 07:55 Jessie 08:20 Good Luck Charlie 08:45 Doc McStuffins 09:00 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 09:25 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 09:35 Winnie The Pooh: Tales Of Friendship 09:45 Mouk 10:00 Jonas Los Angeles 10:25 So Random 10:50 Hannah Montana 11:15 Sonny With A Chance 11:40 Kim Possible 12:05 Shake It Up 12:30 Wizards Of Waverly Place 12:55 Phineas And Ferb 13:20 Austin And Ally 13:45 Art Attack 14:10 A.N.T Farm 14:35 Phineas And Ferb 15:25 Shake It Up 15:50 Austin And Ally 16:15 Jessie


16:40 17:00 17:30 17:55 18:20 18:45 19:10 19:35 20:00 20:30 20:50 21:15 21:40 22:05 22:55 23:45

A.N.T Farm Good Luck Charlie Gravity Falls Suite Life On Deck Austin And Ally Phineas And Ferb A.N.T Farm Good Luck Charlie Jessie That’s So Raven Cory In The House Kim Possible Hannah Montana Phineas And Ferb Wizards Of Waverly Place Hannah Montana

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

00:00 Programmes Start At 7:00am KSA 07:00 Kickin It 07:25 Phineas And Ferb 07:50 Almost Naked Animals 08:15 Pokemon: BW Rival Destinies 08:40 Slugterra 09:05 Scaredy Squirrel 09:30 Ultimate Spider-Man 09:55 Zeke & Luther 10:20 Kick Buttowski 10:45 I’m In The Band 11:10 Rated A For Awesome 11:35 Iron Man Armored Adventures 12:00 American Dragon 12:25 Kick Buttowski 12:50 Fort Boyard - Ultimate Challenge 13:20 Pair Of Kings 13:45 Zeke & Luther 14:10 Scaredy Squirrel 14:35 I’m In The Band 15:00 Ultimate Spider-Man 15:25 Pokemon: BW Rival Destinies 15:50 Rekkit Rabbit 16:15 Pair Of Kings 16:40 Almost Naked Animals 17:05 Lab Rats 17:30 Slugterra 18:00 My Babysitter’s A Vampire 18:25 Scaredy Squirrel 18:50 Phineas And Ferb 19:40 Mr. Young 20:05 Slugterra 20:30 My Babysitter’s A Vampire 20:55 I’m In The Band 21:20 Rated A For Awesome 21:45 Rekkit Rabbit 22:10 Phineas And Ferb 22:35 Ultimate Spider-Man 23:05 Kick Buttowski 23:30 Scaredy Squirrel

E! ENTERTAINMENT 00:00 Holly’s World 00:25 Holly’s World 00:55 Style Star 01:25 THS 03:15 Behind The Scenes 03:40 Extreme Close-Up 04:10 THS 05:05 E!es 06:00 THS 07:50 Behind The Scenes 08:20 Giuliana & Bill 09:15 Giuliana & Bill 10:15 THS 12:05 Married To Jonas 12:35 Married To Jonas 13:05 Ice Loves Coco 13:35 Ice Loves Coco 14:05 Kourtney & Kim Take New York 15:00 Style Star 15:30 THS 16:30 Behind The Scenes

17:00 Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane 18:00 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 19:00 THS 20:00 A-List Listings 20:30 Giuliana & Bill 22:30 Fashion Police 23:30 Chelsea Lately

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

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

Disappeared Dr G: Medical Examiner The Haunted I Married A Mobster I Married A Mobster Blood Relatives Disappeared Dr G: Medical Examiner The Haunted Murder Shift Mystery Diagnosis Street Patrol Street Patrol Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? True Crime With Aphrodite Murder Shift Disappeared Mystery Diagnosis Street Patrol Street Patrol Forensic Detectives True Crime With Aphrodite Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? Murder Shift Disappeared Forensic Detectives Street Patrol True Crime With Aphrodite Who On Earth Did I Marry? Nightmare Next Door Couples Who Kill Deadly Affairs

00:15 One Man & His Campervan 00:45 Adventure Wanted 01:40 Bondi Rescue: Bali 02:05 On Surfari 02:35 Danger Beach 03:30 Meet The Amish 04:25 Market Values 04:50 The Best Job In The World 05:20 A World Apart 06:15 David Rocco’s Dolce Vita 2 06:40 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 07:10 One Man & His Campervan 08:05 Adventure Wanted 09:00 Bondi Rescue: Bali 09:25 On Surfari 09:55 Danger Beach 10:20 Danger Beach 10:50 Meet The Amish 11:45 Market Values 12:10 The Best Job In The World 12:40 A World Apart 13:35 David Rocco’s Dolce Vita 2 14:00 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 14:30 One Man & His Campervan 15:25 Adventure Wanted 16:20 Bondi Rescue: Bali 16:45 On Surfari 17:15 Danger Beach 17:40 On Surfari 18:10 Racing To America 19:05 Market Values 19:30 The Best Job In The World 20:00 One Man & His Campervan 21:00 David Rocco’s Dolce Vita 2 21:30 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 22:00 A World Apart 22:55 David Rocco’s Dolce Vita 2 23:20 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet

00:00 01:00 01:55 02:50 03:45 04:40 05:35 06:00 06:30 07:25

Crimes Against Nature Bonecrusher Queens Great Migrations Swamp Men Caught In The Act Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy Animals Of Brazil Animals Of Brazil Great Migrations Swamp Men

SEASON OF THE WITCH ON OSN ACTION HD 08:20 Caught In The Act 09:15 Maneater Manhunt 10:10 Shane Untamed 11:05 Animal Underworld 12:00 Search For The Giant Octopus 13:00 Wild Mississippi 14:00 Swamp Men 15:00 Caught In The Act (aka Caught In The Act GPU Rever 16:00 Maneater Manhunt 17:00 Shane Untamed 18:00 Animal Underworld 19:00 Monster Fish 20:00 Swamp Men 21:00 Caught In The Act 22:00 Maneater Manhunt 23:00 Shane Untamed

00:00 The Morgue-18 02:00 Carriers-PG15 04:00 Season Of The Witch-PG15 06:00 True Justice: Angel Of Death 08:00 True Justice: Vengeance Is Mine-PG15 10:00 Unknown-PG15 12:00 Tank Girl-PG15 14:00 True Justice: Vengeance Is Mine-PG15 16:00 Biker Boyz-PG15 18:00 Tank Girl-PG15 20:00 RoboCop-PG15

01:00 PG15 03:00 05:00 07:00 09:00 PG15 11:00 PG15 13:00 15:00 17:00 19:00 21:00 23:00

An Invisible Sign Of My OwnHorrid Henry-PG Quest For Zhu-PG The Third Wave-PG15 An Invisible Sign Of My OwnThe Deep End Of The OceanGreener Mountains-PG Elevator Girl-PG15 Feed The Fish-PG15 Henry’s Crime-PG15 Leaves Of Grass-PG15 Snowtown-R

00:00 Wilfred 00:30 The Daily Show Global Edition 01:00 The Colbert Report Global Edition 01:30 Angry Boys 02:00 Unsupervised 02:30 The Ricky Gervais Show 03:00 Last Man Standing 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 06:00 Samantha Who? 06:30 Seinfeld 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:30 Last Man Standing 09:30 Samantha Who? 10:00 How I Met Your Mother 11:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 12:00 Seinfeld 13:30 Samantha Who? 15:00 How I Met Your Mother 15:30 The Daily Show Global Edition 16:00 The Colbert Report Global Edition 16:30 Seinfeld 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 New Girl 19:00 How I Met Your Mother 20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Angry Boys

04:00 05:00 07:00 08:00 08:30 09:00 10:00 11:00 14:00 15:00 17:00 18:00 18:30 19:00 22:00

Boardwalk Empire Good Morning America Royal Pains Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show House Royal Pains House Live Good Morning America The Ellen DeGeneres Show Emmerdale Coronation Street Grey’s Anatomy World Without End

07:00 Emmerdale v16:30Coronation Street 19:00 Grey’s Anatomy 22:00 World Without End

00:00 Love And Other Drugs-R 02:00 Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy-PG15 04:00 It’s Kind Of A Funny StoryPG15 06:00 12 Dates Of Christmas-PG15 08:00 Rebound-PG 10:00 Morning Glory-PG15 12:00 It’s Kind Of A Funny Story14:00 Scooby-Doo-PG 16:00 Morning Glory-PG15 18:00 The Winning Season-PG15 20:00 The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou-PG15 22:00 High Fidelity-PG15

00:15 Harley Davidson And The Marlboro Man-18 02:00 Mutum-PG15 03:45 Seabiscuit-PG15 06:00 George Harrison: Living In The Material World-PG15 09:30 Page Eight-PG15 11:15 Evita-PG 13:30 The Eagle-PG15 15:30 Page Eight-PG15 17:15 Bright Star-PG15 19:15 Shanghai-PG15

01:15 The Disappearance Of Alice Creed-PG15 03:00 Fat Albert-PG 05:00 On Strike For Christmas-PG15 07:00 Pina-PG15 09:00 Mr. Popper’s Penguins-PG 11:00 Johnny English Reborn-PG15 13:00 Bobby Jones: Stroke Of Genius-PG 15:15 Lord Of The Dance-PG 17:00 Mr. Popper’s Penguins-PG 19:00 Moneyball-PG15 21:15 The Woman In Black-PG15 23:00 Dirty Girl-18

01:00 Little Secrets-PG 02:45 Blue Elephant 2-FAM 04:30 Rh+ The Vampire Of Seville 06:00 Snow Day-PG 08:00 Emperor’s Secret-PG 10:00 The Search For Santa Paws-PG 11:45 Cheaper By The Dozen-PG 13:30 Mickey’s Twice Upon A Christmas-FAM 14:45 Little Secrets-PG 16:30 The Adventures Of Don Quixote-FAM 18:00 The Search For Santa Paws-PG 20:00 Jelly T-PG 22:00 Mickey’s Twice Upon A Christmas-FAM 23:30 The Adventures Of Don Quixote-FAM

00:00 Volvo Ocean Race Highlights 01:30 ICC Cricket 360 02:00 Top 14 06:00 Trans World Sport 07:00 Cricket Twenty20 10:00 Top 14 12:00 Trans World Sport 13:00 PGA European Tour Highlights 15:00 ICC Cricket 360 15:30 Cricket Twenty20 18:30 City Center Races 19:00 Top 14 21:00 ICC Cricket 360

00:30 Futbol Mundial 01:00 Trans World Sport 02:00 ICC Cricket 360 02:30 Dubai World Cup Carnival 07:00 ICC Cricket 360 07:30 City Centre Races 08:00 PGA European Tour Highlights 09:00 PGA Tour Highlights

10:00 ICC Cricket 360 10:30 Adventure Challenge 12:00 Cricket T20 15:00 PGA European Highlights 16:00 PGA Tour Highlights 17:00 Adventure Challenge


00:00 ICC Cricket 360 00:30 Cricket T20 03:30 World Pool Masters 04:30 World Cup of Pool 05:30 Golfing World 06:30 Top 14 Highlights 07:00 Golfing World 08:00 Trans World Sport 09:00 World Pool Masters 10:00 World Cup of Pool 11:00 Top 14 Highlights 11:30 Anglo-Welsh Cup 13:30 Golfing World 14:30 World Pool Masters 15:30 World Cup of Pool 16:30 HSBC Sevens World Series 19:30 Top 14 Highlights 20:00 Spirit of Yachting 20:30 Spirit of Yachting 21:00 Golfing World 22:00 PGA European Tour Highlights 23:00 World Pool Masters

00:00 01:00 04:00 05:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 11:00 13:00 16:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 22:30 23:30

WWE Vintage Collection UFC UFC Unleashed NHL WWE Bottom Line WWE NXT V8 Supercars Highlights NHL Prizefighter WWE SmackDown WWE Bottom Line UFC Countdown UFC Unleashed WWE Experience WWE This Week WWE Vintage Collection Mobil 1 The Grid

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

American Restoration Pawn Stars Storage Wars Soviet Storm: WWII In The East Pawn Stars Cajun Pawn Stars American Restoration Mud Men Pawn Stars American Restoration Soviet Storm: WWII In The East Pawn Stars Storage Wars Mud Men Pawn Stars American Restoration Pawn Stars Storage Wars Soviet Storm: WWII In The East Pawn Stars Cajun Pawn Stars American Restoration Pawn Stars American Restoration Mud Men Pawn Stars Cajun Pawn Stars American Restoration Pawn Stars American Restoration Mud Men

01:30 03:30 05:05 06:50 08:20 09:20 10:50 12:30 14:05 16:15 18:25 20:20 22:00 23:45

Knightriders Piranha Traces Of Red Gate II Lights! Action! Music! Bermuda Grace Hannibal Brooks Marked For Murder Charge Of The Light Brigade Yentl Viva Maria! The Tenth Man Alice Welcome To Woop Woop


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


Mirqab Sharq




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



Te el.: 161


Partly cloudy to cloudy with moderate to fresh south easterly wind, with speed of 20 - 40 km/h with a chance for rain that might be thundery at times No Current Waarnings arnin




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W Hawally






New Jahra


28/01/2013 0000 UTC

4 DA AYS Y FORECAST Temperatures

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South Jahra


North Jahra


North Jleeb








N Khaitan







Wind Direction

Wind Speed


22 °C

18 °C


25 - 50 km/h

partly cloudy

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12 - 35 km/h

partly cloudy + scattered rain

17 °C

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25 - 45 km/h


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MAX. Temp.

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MIN. Temp.

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95 %






MAX. Wind




All times are local time unless otherwise stated.

69 % SE 21 km/h 00 mm

28/01/13 02:31 UTC



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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 M o v i e s


M u s i c

Dieter Kosslik (4th R) and all curators of the different sections of the Berlinale Film Festival attend a press conference in Berlin, Germany yesterday. —AFP photos

A poster of the International Film Festival Berlin, Berlinale is displayed near Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, yesterday. (Inset) Director of the Berlinale Film Festival Dieter Kosslick holds Berlinale merchandise.

Soderbergh, Van Sant to show at Berlin film fest N ew movies from directors Steven Soderbergh and Gus Van Sant and a trio of films starring French divas will be competing this year at the Berlin International Film Festival. A diverse selection of 19 movies including films from Kazakhstan and Iran - will vie for the main Golden Bear

prize at Europe’s first major film festival of the year. Van Sant’s film about the shale gas industry, “Promised Land,” and Soderbergh’s thriller “Side Effects” are the most prominent US offerings. There’s a strong contingent from eastern Europe, including Oscar-winning

Bosnian director Danis Tanovic’s “An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker” about a poor Gypsy family. French actresses Juliette Binoche, Catherine Deneuve and Isabelle Huppert all star in separate competition entries. The festival runs Feb 7-17.

Thanks to Psy, S Korea dreams of conquering music world T hanks to Psy’s “Gangnam Style” smash hit, the South Korean music industry’s longheld dream to make it big in Europe and the USA with its K-pop boy bands has taken a giant leap forward. But Psy’s international success looks unlikely to have a big knock-on effect in other Asian countries, experts said at the MIDEM music industry gathering in Cannes. To build on the momentum of the “Psy” phenomenon and showcase some of their other big stars, South Korea’s music industry has turned out in force to attend the annual fourday trade fair that opened its doors on Saturday. “The Western markets have always been a kind of romantic dream and an end goal for the South Korean record labels,” Clayton Jin, CEO of the country’s most respected music data service, Billboard Korea, told AFP. “However, Korean labels are very realistic and Asia remains their bread and butter,” Jin stressed, adding that Asia continues to be the region where the country’s labels are most successful, with Japan alone accounting for about 50 percent of Korea’s music exports. It’s only very recently that the South Korean music business has started to eye up the US and European markets, Jin said in an interview. The first K-pop concerts held outside of Asia were organized in the States and Europe in 2011 and did much to increase the musical genre’s popularity. In terms of sales, however, the slick boy and girl-band routines proved successful only in a handful of niche markets, industry experts noted. “The American market and the European market represented just 0.5 percent of South Korea’s total music exports,” Min Kim, who heads up Kocca, a non-profit organisation that promotes the country’s content industry abroad, told AFP. But all that changed when rapper Psy unexpectedly shot to fame and his quirky “Gangnam Style” video notched up a record one billion views on YouTube. “Before Psy, Western people associated Korea with IT, now with Gangnam

South Korean singer Psy poses upon arrival at the Palais des Festivals during the 14th Annual NRJ Music Awards in Cannes, southeastern France. —AFP Style they associate the country with music,” Kim noted. Psy’s success has convinced many Western music industry insiders and fans take a closer look at K-pop, he added. “Now music fans are actually giving this music a chance whilst before they thought it was just some ethnic music genre and didn’t pay much attention to it,” Kim said. Psy’s success has also boosted the confidence of other

Korean artists and their management companies who didn’t think it could be financially viable to tour in Europe and the US, Jin added. Today, the industry believes that with the right investments and the right artists, they can make a meaningful push into these markets, he said. Psy has also had an impact on how the music industry operates in his own country. “Before, the artists’ management companies had a very tight control over their artists. “But the reason why Psy succeeded where so many other Korean artists failed was that he had a very open contract, so that as soon as his ‘Gangnam Style’ single started taking off on YouTube, Psy was able to move to the United States and sign with (new manager) Scooter Braun,” Jin said. Other Korean artists are now clamouring to follow in Psy’s footsteps. South Korean girl band “Girls Generation” has signed with Interscope in the US, the label behind Lady Gaga and the Black Eyed Peas, and is coming out with an English album in March. But industry experts at the trade fair cautioned that the “Psy” phenomenon was unlikely to be easily copied in other Asian music markets-or even at home. Malaysia, for instance, faces a language barrier to promoting their songs abroad as there are four different main languages in the country and English is not widely used, the chairman of the Recording Industry Association of Malaysia, Norman Abdul Halim, told AFP. South Korea’s big music success in Japan may also be on the wane, Japanese industry experts said here, as Japanese music fans are starting to get bored of the pre-packaged Korean tunes and are hungry for something new and fresh. And Psy’s success hasn’t necessarily made things easier for South Korean artists in other musical genres such as hip-hop and dance, Tasha, the female vocalist of the band Drunken Tiger, told AFP. “In one way, it’s made things even more difficult because a lot of people now expect all Korean music to be like Psy’s music,” she said with a wry smile. —AFP

Malian musicians back power of harmony over guns


s musicians from Mali took to a London stage on Saturday night, news was announced that back home French troops had captured the airport of the Islamist-controlled city of Gao. A cheer went up - and not surprisingly. Since Islamist militants seized control of Mali’s north following a military coup in March 2012, the country has been convulsed by conflict. Its musical community, whose singers and players have won worldwide acclaim, has been targeted by the hardline Islamists bent on imposing sharia, or Islamic law. Concerts have been banned in northern cities, clubs closed, instruments smashed and burned, musicians harassed and forced to flee. This weekend’s “Sahara Soul” concert at London’s Barbican, featuring Bassekou Kouyate, Sidi Toure and the desert blues band Tamkirest, showcased the country’s musical riches and called for peace. But it also indicated that there were differing visions of what any peace might entail. “There is just one message - peace,” Sidi Toure told Reuters backstage before the concert. “If you filled this room with gold and diamonds, it would not be more important than peace.” Toure hails from Gao on the banks of the River Niger in the Sahel region and performs Songhai folk songs with a trance-like beat. Music, he said, was ingrained in Malian life. “When you feel bad, only music can cure you. We have many different kinds - for your first child, for weddings, for parties.” But it has been forbidden in Gao since an official of the Ansar Din (Followers of God) militant group stated in August:”We do not want Satan’s music.”“At the cultural centre, they made a fire in the street of all

the instruments. Now all the musicians have left, for Bamako, for Niger, for Burkina Faso,” Toure said. Malians welcomed the French military action three weeks ago as Islamist forces advanced on the capital Bamako, he said. “Without the French intervention, that would have been the end of Mali. The French saved Mali,” he said. Wellspring of the blues Until the war pushed Mali to the forefront of US and European security concerns with fears the Islamists would turn the country into a base for international attacks, Mali was probably best defined for the outside world by its music. It is seen as the wellspring of American blues, transported to Mississippi and Memphis by slavery. Artists such as Amadou and Mariam, the blind couple from Bamako, have sold millions of records and fill

concert halls worldwide. The desert blues band Tinariwen, born out of the Touareg rebellion, won a Grammy award last year. The annual Festival in the Desert, held near the fabled city of Timbuktu, was a pilgrimage for many foreigners, among them ex-Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant and U2’s Bono. That will not happen this year. “Today Mali is different, because of terrorism by those who want to impose sharia; no music, no TV, no telephones, no democracy. This is no good,” Kouyate told the audience. Kouyate, from Segou, southern Mali, plays a wooden acoustic instrument called the ngoni, a forebear of the banjo. He recalled that on the day of the military coup last March, his band had just started recording their latest album in Bamako. They heard the shooting in the streets. His final song, “Ne me fatigue pas”, takes aim at the coup that brought down an elected government. The coup gave new impetus to a long-running Touareg separatist rebellion in the Sahara desert of the north. That, however, was swiftly taken over by the Islamists, many said to be foreign veterans of the Afghan and Libyan battlefields. Last week a host of Malian musicians, including Amadou and Mariam, recorded a song for peace in Bamako under the banner Voices United for Mali. “Malian people look to us,” singer Fatoumata Diawara, the project organizer, said in Bamako. “They have lost hope in politics. But music has always brought hope in Mali.” The lyrics refer directly to the situation in the north, saying: “Such catastrophe, such desolation ... tell the North that our Mali is one nation, indivisible!” —Reuters

File photo shows New York-based Filipino filmmaker Marty Syjuco poses during an interview in Manila. —AFP

Documentary indicts Philippine justice system


gripping documentary about a wealthy, young man sentenced to death for the rape and murder of two sisters has catalyzed a movement to expose wrongful convictions in the Philippines. The award-winning “Give Up Tomorrow” follows Francisco Juan Larranaga as he is transformed from a carefree, culinary art student into one of the nation’s most vilified and hated people whose adult life is lost behind bars. The documentary presents a compelling case that corrupt authorities framed Larranaga, then aged 19, and six other young men for the 1997 rape and murder of the two sisters in the central Philippine city of Cebu. “This was a systematic failure of the justice system, and of society,” the producer of the film, Marty Syjuco, who is related by marriage to Larranaga, told AFP following a screening of the movie in the Philippines recently. “He didn’t stand a chance from day one. There was no presumption of innocence. From the time he was arrested and paraded for the media he was already judged guilty by the public.” The killings of Jacqueline and Marijoy Chiong, aged 23 and 21, in the central Philippine city of Cebu triggered public outrage across the Catholic nation. With enormous political pressure for authorities to quickly resolve the case, police accused Larranaga of being the ring-leader of a gang that abducted, raped and killed the Chiongs. However dozens of witnesses said Larranaga was in Manila, the nation’s capital, 550 kilometres (340 miles) away, at the time of the abductions and murders. He always maintained he had never before met his coaccused. The documentary shows how the nation’s media accepted the police account as fact and incited hatred against Larranaga, a member of a rich Filipino-Spanish family who had earlier been placed on a police watchlist for minor crimes. After months of emotionally charged hearings that the UN Human Rights Commission would later describe as an “unfair” trial, the judge presiding over the case found the seven guilty. Larranaga and the others appealed the conviction. But the country’s highest judicial body, the Supreme Court, instead raised their life sentences to death by lethal injection. Throughout the ordeal, Larranaga maintained his innocence and the documentaryfilmed over seven years-shows a young man maintaining a sense of dignity while growing up in some of the nation’s most infamous prisons. The film is named after the phrase Larranaga repeats to himself, “give up tomorrow”, whenever he comes close to despair. The Larranaga family filed a complaint with the UN Human Rights Commission, which in 2006

ruled that he had been denied due process and cited multiple incidents of major flaws in the case against him. It called for the government to commute his death sentence and grant him early release on parole. Fair Trials International and the Spanish government also pressured the Philippine government on behalf of Larranaga. After nine years in jail, Larranaga’s first apparent piece of luck occurred later in 2006 when the Philippines abolished the death penalty. Larranaga was then extradited to Spain in 2009. But, according to the documentary, authorities there would only reduce his sentence and release him on parole if he admitted his guilt. The documentary ends with Larranaga saying he would not admit to something he had never done, even if it meant he had to spend the rest of his life in jail. While the documentary does not seek to solve the case of who murdered the sisters, it shows that when they went missing their father was about to testify in a case against an alleged drug lord for whom he worked. The father decided not to testify against the alleged drug lord, who the documentary showed as having close relationships with local police. The film has won more than a dozen awards at film festivals around the world, after debuting at New York’s famous Tribeca in 2011. Hitting Philippines screens last year, it has become a must-see cautionary tale on the nation’s justice system, with more than 100 law schools around the country having signed up to screen it for their students. It also inspired the creation in December of the Innocence Project, a network of law schools and students who offer free legal help to convicts using DNA technology and investigative work to overturn wrongful convictions. “The movie highlighted the defects and imperfections of the justice system,” project spokesman and law professor at the University of the Philippines, Jose Manguera Jose, told AFP. “There are so many wrongful convictions.” The Philippines justice system has long been regarded as corrupt, with lowpaid judges vulnerable to bribes and intimidation. The current president, Benigno Aquino, has made fighting corruption throughout all part of society the top priority of his six-year term. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima was non-committal when asked whether she thought Larranaga was innocent. “It is difficult to ascertain at this point whether there was a miscarriage of justice,” she said. National police spokesman Generoso Cerbo declined to comment on the alleged corruption in the police force that was raised in the documentary. —AFP



LIFESTYLE F e a t u r e s

Xiao Jun Li of China sculpts ice during the final of the World pastry cup, yesterday, as part of the International Restaurant, Hotel and Food Industries Fair (SIRHA) in the French central town of Chassieu, near Lyon. —AFP


Takanobu Suzuki of Belgium competes during the final of the World pastry cup.

New opera’s success is beyond ‘Doubt’

nly the children’s voices soothe me,” an anguished Sister Aloysius sings at the conclusion of “Doubt,” the new opera based on John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play. She has just confessed that she is tormented by uncertainty about the actions she has taken to drive out a priest whom she suspects of sexually abusing a child in the school where she is principal. And Shanley makes things just ambiguous enough that the audience, too, is left unsure of the truth. But of this there is no doubt: The opera, with a libretto by Shanley and music by Douglas J. Cuomo, makes for a gripping 2 1/2 hours of theater. The work had its world premiere Saturday night in a production by Minnesota Opera, which commissioned it, and the enthusiastic audience at the Ordway Center responded with a standing ovation for the cast and creative team. The loudest applause deservedly went to Christine Brewer, the distinguished American soprano who may have found the role of a lifetime as Sister Aloysius, an old-style disciplinarian whose devout faith does not inhibit her from resorting to devious tactics to defend her values. On first hearing, it is hard to say how much of the project’s success is due to the strength of Shanley’s play and how much to Cuomo’s musical

setting. The composer, who has written one previous opera called “Arjuna’s Dilemma” and is perhaps best known for the theme music to TV’s “Sex and the City,” is clearly talented. He has an ear for subtle dissonance, and his inventive orchestrations are enhanced by judicious use of saxophone, piano and celeste. Shanley has rewritten a lot of the text to make it more singable and has opened up the play by adding choruses for children and for the churchgoers at St. Nicholas parish in the Bronx of 1964. Like the play - and the movie adaptation that starred Meryl Streep - the operatic “Doubt” takes its time gathering steam. A series of light-hearted scenes in Act 1 seem to be mainly depicting a culture clash between the rigid Sister Aloysius and the more progressive Father Flynn. Cuomo’s music for these early scenes is written in short, matter-of-fact phrases of sung dialogue, and he relies on rumblings in the orchestra to evoke the sense that something is not quite right. But as Sister Aloysius becomes increasingly suspicious of the priest’s relationship with the school’s only black pupil, the music gains in lyric and dramatic power, culminating in their first confrontation at the end of Act 1. This arc continues throughout Act 2, where scene after scene reaches an emo-

tional peak. The encounter in which Father Flynn wins over the young Sister James to his side takes on the feel of a seduction scene, their voices rising in overlapping harmony as they affirm that the “message of the Savior” is the “love of people.” And Sister Aloysius’s interview with Donald’s mother sung with rich, passionate tone by mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves - is riveting in its intensity. It’s in these later scenes that Cuomo gives Brewer a chance to exploit her plush upper register to its fullest. And her soaring vocal line as she moves toward victory and then gives voice to doubt imbue her character with a kind of tragic grandeur that words alone could not achieve. The other soloists are first-rate as well. As Father Flynn, Matthew Worth complements his flexible baritone with a dashing, ingratiating presence that may or may not conceal a dark secret. Mezzo Adriana Zabala makes a sweet-voiced, earnest Sister James. The production, directed by Kevin Newbury, is fast-paced and effective if perhaps overly elaborate. The many scenes melt seamlessly into one another thanks to Robert Brill’s movable sets and Japhy Weideman’s evocative lighting. Conductor Christopher Franklin leads the orchestra in a persuasive account of the score. There are four more performances through Feb 3.—AP

Karachi Fashion Week

File photo provided by the Minnesota Opera, Matthew Worth as Father Brendan Flynn, a parish priest, Christine Brewer, center, as Sister Aloysius Beauvier, the school principal and Adriana Zabala as Sister James, a teacher and a nun, perform during a dress rehearsal for the Jan 26 world premiere of “Doubt” at the Minnesota Opera Center in Minneapolis. —AP

i’m Watch, the world’s first real smart watch at the InfoConnect Exhibition


Pakistani models present creations by designer Zeeshan Bariwala on the opening day of Karachi Fashion Week, in Karachi, Pakistan. —AP photos

Malabar gold & Diamonds expands its retail network in GCC


alabar Gold & Diamonds, the leading jewellery retailer has announced the opening of two more outlets in GCC this week. Their latest outlets will be launched at Al-Ain- UAE and RiffaBahrain on 30thJanuary at 4.00 PM and 31stJanuary at 5.00 PM respectively. The new showroom in AlAin, the Garden City is positioned at Meena Bazaar, one of the oldest and popular shopping destinations in the region. Malabar Gold & Diamonds also operates one more outlet in AlAin at Kuwait hath. They are also planning to open another outlet in Riffa, one of the emerging cities in Bahrain. This showroom will be opened in Lulu Hypermarket,Riffa, Bahrain. This is in addition to their already existing showroom in Gold City, Manama. The jewellery chain showcases meticulously crafted unique collection of classic, contemporary and stylish designs ingold, diamonds and precious stones to suit the specific

budgets of every customer. The astounding creation of Malabar Gold & Diamonds branded jewellery segment ; Era- uncut diamond jewellery, Ethnix- hand crafted designer jewellery, Mine- diamonds unlimited, Divine- Heritage jewellery, Preciaprecious gem jewellery, Starlet- kids jewellery and D’ VA- teenage jewellery are the epitome of style and impeccable craftsmanship. Malabar Gold & Diamondsoffers amazinggifts as inaugural offers through these outlets until 15th February 2013. The customers get a fabulous opportunity to win up to 100,000 gold coins and up to AED 1 Million instant cash refund. Customers who buy gold and diamonds jewellery worth BD500 or more will get a ‘Scratch and Win’ coupon for a guaranteed gold coin and an opportunity to win up to 100 gold coins instantly. On every diamond purchase, the customers get a ‘Scratch & Win’ coupon for a guaranteed cash refund with a chance to win up to 100% cash back.

The group also offers a Zero Deduction exchange scheme through which customers can update their old ornaments to the exquisite collection of Malabar Gold & Diamonds with zero loss. Any 22 ct old gold ornaments can be exchanged with the latest Malabar Gold & Diamonds designs by paying only making charges ensuring they do not lose any value on the rate of gold. Malabar Gold and Diamonds has a strong retail network of over 80 outlets spread across seven countries. This is in addition to their wholesale units and manufacturing divisions spread across India and the Middle East. The group is continuing to drive its presence across India and the key international markets. To meet with the increasing customer demands, the Group is planning to open 17 more retail outlets in GCC and aims to expand its network to 120 retail outlets from the existing 80, spread across India, GCC and South East Asia by the end of

bdulrahman Barrak Al-Babtain Est (ABB), the exclusive distributor of the i’m Watch smart watch in Kuwait and GCC countries, has recently announced its participation in the InfoConnect Exhibition held at the Kuwait International Fair Grounds (Hall no 6) in Michref from January 27th until February 2nd, 2013. During this exhibition, Abdulrahman Barrak Al-Babtain Est will take the opportunity to showcase the various category lines of this Italian-designed smart watch available in many different colors, such as the fashionable i’m Color, and will surprise the visitors with its special promotions and exceptional prices. I’m Watch has revolutionized the telecom and smart phones industry with its amazing functionalities and by being the first smart watch able to connect to a variety of smart phones through Bluetooth thus allowing users to receive calls, messages and emails, listen to music, read news, check weather forecast, view their favorite pictures and use many other applications such as facebook, twitter and Instagram on their wrist. I’m Watch is the perfect combination between the most innovative Italian technology and a unique, unmistakable style. Available in many different colors (black, blue, red, pink, green, yellow...), this seductive-looking watch will surely satisfy even the

most sophisticated demands. It also includes different category lines such as the fashionable i’m Color, available in black and white, and i’m Color Alu characterized by the purity of aluminum, all of which are today available at the InfoConnect Exhibition. I’m Watch is characterized by a high-definition touch screen with a curved surface, and is an ultraresponsive and easy-to-use smart watch. Abdulrahman Barrak Al-Babtain Est mentioned that this creative

invention uses today the “I’m Droid” software, the most common Android version especially designed to comply with the smart watch’s special features and functionalities. In this regard, Abdulrahman Barrak Al-Babtain Est, the exclusive distributor of the i’m Watch smart watch in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE and Oman, announced that the company is continuously focusing on launching the most innovative technologies worldwide and bringing its customers with products bred with an incomparable cutting-edge touch.


lifestyle T R A V E L

Photo shows people walking through the French Market in New Orleans. —AP photos


File photo shows crowds throng Bourbon Street in the French Quarter on Mardi Gras day in New Orleans.

free things to do in


t’s expensive to be a tourist in a town that’s hosting two of the biggest events of the new year - Mardi Gras and the Super Bowl but New Orleans has plenty of free things to do. The nearly 300-year-old French city has walkable neighborhoods and scenic public parks dotted with centuries-old oak trees draped in Spanish moss, along with a free ferry and historic market.

New Orleans the 1720s. Its towering white facade with three steeples fronts the Mississippi River. Inside are religious mosaics, colorful stained glass and a small gift shop. Masses are held daily and free concerts are held regularly, and

Quarter. Algiers Point, established in 1719, boasts a trove of historic Victorian-style homes, magnolia tree-lined streets with several parks, cafes, historic churches and bars with live music. But perhaps its best feature is an unobstructed view of the city skyline and river traffic, from enormous cargo vessels to the city’s iconic Natchez paddlewheel boat. Visitors can also enjoy a free self-guided tour of the Algiers Point neighborhood with the help of an online brochure from the Algiers Historical Society,

City park

Mardi Gras and Bourbon street

New Orleans is perhaps best-known for hosting one of the biggest free parties in the world: Mardi Gras. The Carnival season includes parades with costumed riders, marching bands and decorated floats, but it only lasts a few weeks. But visitors can get a taste of the madness and revelry of Carnival any time of year on Bourbon Street, the city’s most famous thoroughfare, where scantily-clad women beckon patrons from strip club doorways and beads are flung from balconies to revelers down below year-round. It’s also a hot spot for live music, which spills out onto the street from clubs with doors and windows flung open. Bourbon Street is also the one place where a costume can be flaunted any time of year.

French market

Photo shows people walking through the French Market in New Orleans. —AP photos

Jackson square

Artists painting on canvas, clowns making balloon animals, street performers and jazz musicians are among the free entertainment to be found in Jackson Square, a one-block section of the French Quarter anchored by a lush green space with benches set amid gardens and grand oak trees. The square is bordered by pedestrian-only walkways with restaurants, storefronts and upper-level balconies boasting decorative ironwork. Benches allow visitors to take in the architecture of the square’s historic buildings, including the Cabildo and Pontalba Apartments, believed to be among the oldest apartment buildings in the country. Visitors are also welcome at St. Louis Cathedral, a place of worship for Catholics since

A ferry boat crossing the Mississippi River from Downtown to Algiers in New Orleans. The New Orleans Museum of Art is located in the park, and while there’s a fee to enter the museum, just beyond the museum are dozens of art objects you can see for free in the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden. The sculptures, valued at more than $25 million, can be viewed in a relaxing setting that includes meandering footpaths, pedestrian bridges and reflecting lagoons. Among the artists represented are Antoine Bourdelle, Gaston Lachaise, Henry Moore, Jacques Lipchitz, Barbara Hepworth and Seymour Lipton.

Mississippi river ferry

Photo shows a man dressed in a Mardi Gras Indian costume talks to a woman on a bicycle along Jackson Square in New Orleans.

People walk through the Sydney Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden in City Park in New Orleans. City Park is the largest green space in New Orleans with more than 1,300 acres of gardens, lagoons and walking trails set amid centuriesold oak trees draped in Spanish moss and filled with birds,

A boat ride is one of the best ways to get a look at the New Orleans skyline and the Mississippi River’s daily parade of river barges, steamships and cruise ships. The Algiers Point ferry, which has been in operation since the early 1800s, is free to pedestrians. It runs every 30 minutes between the landing at the foot of Canal Street near the Aquarium of the Americas and the historic Algiers Point neighborhood directly across the river from the French

The smell of sweet pralines and freshlybrewed coffee wafts through the air of the New Orleans French Market. The centuries-old commercial hub stretches for several city blocks along the banks of the Mississippi River in the French Quarter and includes Cafe du Monde, home of the deepfried, sugar-coated beignet, a popular New Orleans pastry. The market is a mix of open-air retail spaces dotted with produce stands and enclosed stores carrying specialty clothing and jewelry. It’s an ideal destination for windowshopping and people-watching. Visitors can watch candy-makers mix up batches of pralines, a New Orleans treat made with brown sugar and pecans, or stop by an open-air flea market where eye-catching jewelry, accessories and handmade crafts are sold. Newer vendor spaces have ceiling fans and full kitchens where cooks prepare meals using fresh Louisiana produce and seafood. The French Market dates to 1791 and was originally the site of a Native American trading post. European immigrants traded there, as did African-Americans selling coffee, pralines and calas, a rice fritter popular in 19th century New Orleans. Choctaw Indians from north of Lake Pontchartrain sold herbs, spices and handmade crafts. Many such items are sold in the market today,—AP

A year later Disney Dream still cruising with magic


aptain Jack Sparrow swings down upon the gang of pirates overtaking the ship. Swords clash before he calms the rumble and they celebrate with fireworks bursting above. Sound like a scene from the next “Pirates of the Caribbean” flick? It’s actually a night on the Disney Dream, one of Disney Cruise Line’s fleet. This take-it-to-the-next-level mentality permeates the cruise experience. A year after its maiden voyage, the Disney Dream sails the same course, blending state-of-the-art technology and amenities with a heap of Disney magic. The 1,115-foot long ship with 1,250 staterooms and suites hauls as many as 4,000 passengers, alternating three- and fournight cruises from Port Canaveral, Fla., to the Bahamas and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. Four- and five-night voyages are offered during the summer months. Consider the following tips when sailing on the Disney Dream: Eat freely: To bask in some serious service, take advantage of the nightly dinners included with each voyage. You and the occupants of your cabin are scheduled to dine in a different restaurant, but your server is always the same. Get animated: The set mealtime doesn’t always fit every cruiser’s schedule, but make sure to dine at Animator’s Palace, one of the three main restaurants. Though the Royal Palace has a setting fit for Cinderella and the Enchanted Garden looks like something out of Versailles, Animator’s Palate is like stepping into an animation studio for a bite. Splurge on Remy: Since the main dining restaurants are included, budget-

minded cruisers may balk at paying for a meal. The adults-only pay restaurants offer a snazzier date night alternative. Palo, an Italian-themed Disney Cruise Line favorite, makes a return appearance. The Frenchinspired Remy gets top billing with romantic surroundings and gourmet indulgences. Always ‘Believe’: Oodles of entertainment is available, including a full-size movie theater featuring first-run flicks. The nightly stage shows have Broadway-style production values, each with a Disney theme. Although all are endearing, the not-to-miss show of the bunch is “Disney’s Believe.” Duck in The AquaDuck Water Coaster is a favorite. From the top deck, it propels guests 42 inches and taller on a 765-foot long ride through a huge acrylic tube up, down, over the side and around the ship. Lines can be long, but the wait lessens at night or while the Dream is at port. Go adult: A common misconception is that it’s all about kids. Adult options are plentiful, from a full-service spa to an adults-only pool. The District is an entire nighttime entertainment area for those 18 and older featuring a sports pub, live performances, a champagne bar and a dance club. Skyline features an ever-changing skyline. Let the kids be kids: Disney characters are available for photo ops and autographs throughout the cruise. Keep tabs on appearance times and other special events by reading the “Personal Navigator,” a daily publication available in each stateroom. Children have their own age-appropriate retreats overseen by counselors, and parents must go through a strict checkout policy to ensure each child is in the

The Disney Dream continues the Disney Cruise Line tradition of blending the elegant grace of early 20th century transatlantic ocean liners with contemporary design. —MCT right hands. It’s a Small World Nursery is a haven for infants and toddlers ages 3 months to 3 years. Disney’s Oceaneer Club caters to 3 to 10 year olds. Hot spots include playgrounds with Disney characters and the interactive Magic PlayFloor. Those on the older end of that spectrum may appreciate the adjacent Disney’s Oceaneer Lab with computer games and the Animator’s Studio. Tweens, ages 11 to 13, kick back at Edge, a lounge boasting video karaoke and a lighted dance floor. Teens ages 14 to 17 hang out in Vibe, a 9,000-square-foot club with video games, a hands-on DJ station, movie room and private sundeck. —MCT

The restaurant Remy on the Disney Dream cruise ship features Frenchinspired cuisine by two award-winning chefs.


lifestyle T R A V E L

Southfork Ranch draws ‘Dallas’ fans old and new


he white two-storey home with stately pillars overlooking a green Texas pasture where longhorns roam is instantly recognizable: This is the power seat of television’s famous Ewing family. Tourists from around the world have been flocking to Southfork Ranch since the early years of the classic series “Dallas,” which ran from 1978 to 1991, and the ranch is only getting more popular. With the premiere last June of a new “Dallas” series, the number of visitors at Southfork has doubled from 150,000 annually to more than 300,000, according to Jim Gomes, general manager of the Southfork Ranch & Hotel and vice president of Forever Resorts, which owns the property. “We are obviously thrilled the new fans love Southfork as much as the original fans of ‘Dallas,’” said Gomes. The new show starts its second season Monday on the TNT cable channel. The recent death of Larry Hagman, who starred as conniving Texas oilman J.R. Ewing in both the original series and the new show, has also spurred fans to visit. The 340acre (138-hectare) ranch is located about 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of downtown Dallas in the suburb of Parker. Patrick Duffy, who has returned to the role of J.R.’s brother Bobby, said that the biggest changes since he first filmed on the ranch are new tourist-related buildings and event facilities for weddings and meetings, along with the buildup of the surrounding town, including housing additions and a high school. But any time he’s back at Southfork, it doesn’t take long for the magic to take over. “You drive down that road and you look across this pasture and there’s the front of Southfork and it looks like the opening credits of the show and I know why people love it so much,” Duffy said. Duffy remembers a time when fans watching them film consisted of small groups of 20 to 30 people. Those crowds grew to the hundreds as the “Who Shot J.R.?” mania built in 1980 when a cliffhanger left fans in suspense. The answer came on Nov 21, 1980, when the shooter was revealed to be Kristin - J.R.’s vengeful mistress, who was also his sister-in-

law - in an episode that was seen by more people than any TV program in history until that time. When the series first began filming at Southfork, the family that built the house in 1970 still lived there. And while they hosted tourists as the show’s popularity grew, it didn’t become an official tourist attraction and event location until 1985 after they sold it. Forever Resorts bought Southfork in 1992. Most of the shooting for the original series was done in Los Angeles, though some of it was filmed in Texas, but the new show is being filmed in the Dallas area - with locations ranging from the flagship Neiman Marcus downtown to the gleaming Cowboys

Stadium. Cynthia Cidre, executive producer of the reboot, said she knew when she started developing the new series that Southfork would again be an integral part of the plot. “The ranch had been in the previous show, it was almost a character in the story. I knew that I wanted to use that as something that the family was fighting over again,” she said. The struggle over ownership of the ranch became the central plot point in the first season of the new series, with J.R. telling his son, John Ross: “Southfork isn’t just a piece of dirt. It’s as much a part of me as my blood and my bones and I’d pay a hell of a price for it.” Visitors start their tour in a museum featuring everything from the gun that “shot” J.R. to

scripts from the original series to the wedding dress of Lucy, the niece of J.R. and Bobby, who was played by Charlene Tilton. For those puzzled about the complicated relations of the Ewing family, there’s a family tree to peruse. As tour guides take visitors through the barns and pastures on their way to the house, they point out where scenes from both the old and new series were filmed - from the cottage where Elena Ramos, played by Jordana Brewster, lives, to the spot from the original series where the funeral was held for Bobby, who was later famously revealed to still be alive. The story of his death turned out to be part of a prolonged dream sequence. Around the house, the pool and patio have

File photo, the late Actor Larry Hagman poses in front of the Southfork Ranch mansion made famous in the television show, ‘Dallas’, in Parker, Texas.

provided spots for countless shots. And while interior scenes for the home on the series were never shot inside the 5,900-square-foot (548-square-meter), four-bedroom house, visitors can still walk through and take in the rooms decorated in homage to the Ewings, with rooms reflecting the tastes of different characters. Sally Peavy, tourism sales manager at Southfork, said scenes from reunion shows have been filmed in the house and that a scene in the second season of the new show was also filmed in one room, though details of the scene have not been revealed. There’s also a restaurant and two gift shops on the grounds. One sells items including hats and belts and has as its centerpiece family patriarch Jock Ewing’s silver Lincoln Continental, which features “trunk sales.” Josh Henderson, who plays John Ross, was born in Dallas and spent much of his childhood here. Henderson said that when he got the part of J.R.’s son, his mother informed him that he’d already been to Southfork once, at age 3. “I don’t remember it but my mother definitely made sure I had that information,” said Henderson. Janice Johnstone of Vancouver visited Southfork in November while sightseeing in Dallas. An avid fan of the original series, she enjoyed hearing tidbits from the tour guides. “I think just hearing the history of how people found out that that’s where it was and they had all these people driving by constantly, I thought that was kind of interesting because those are things that you don’t hear,” she said. “I think it’s definitely worthwhile going, anybody who has watched the show I think would really appreciate it.” When Larry White, who lives near Springfield, Mass., was in Dallas in November, a friend drove him by Southfork. Since he had a flight to catch, he didn’t have time for the tour, but did make a quick stop in a gift shop and took a picture of the house complete with a longhorn. “It’s just clearly a piece of American history at this point,” said White. —AP

Malian musicians back power of harmony over guns



Lawrence, Jones, Hathaway win SAG prizes Director Ben Affleck and members of the cast of his film Argo pose with the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture in the press room at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. — AFP


ennifer Lawrence has been named best actress at the Screen Actors Guild Awards for her role as a troubled widow in a shaky new relationship in “Silver Linings Playbook.”The supporting film awards Sunday went to Anne Hathaway of “Les Miserables” and Tommy Lee Jones of “Lincoln.” The wins lift their prospects for the same prizes at the Feb 24 Academy Awards. “Now I have this naked statue that means some of you even voted for me, and that is an indescribable feeling,” Lawrence said after explaining she earned her SAG card at age 14 by filming a spot for MTV. Hathaway won for her role as a doomed single mother forced into prostitution in the adaptation of the stage musical based on Victor Hugo’s epic novel. Her win came over four past Oscar recipients - Sally Field, Helen Hunt, Nicole Kidman and Maggie Smith. “I’m just thrilled I have dental,” Hathaway said. “I got my SAG card when I was 14. It felt like the beginning of the world. I have loved every single minute of my life as an actor. ... Thank you for nominating me alongside incredible women and incredible performances.” Jones, who was not at the show, won for his turn as abolitionist firebrand Thaddeus Stevens in the Civil War epic. The win improves his odds to become a two-time Academy Award winner. He previously won a supporting-actor Oscar for “The Fugitive.” It was brisk, businesslike and fairly bland evening as the actors union handed out honors to a predictable lineup of winners who generally had triumphed at earlier Hollywood ceremonies or past SAG shows. On the television side, with “30 Rock” ending its run, its stars Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin won the SAG awards for best comedy performers. It was Baldwin’s seventh-straight win, while Fey earned her fifth SAG prize. “Oh, my God. It’s ridiculous,” Baldwin said. “It’s the end of our show, which is sad. Everybody is sad about that. It was the greatest experience I’ve ever had.” Fey gave a plug for the show ’s finale airing Thursday, noting that it’s up against “The Big Bang Theory.” “Just tape ‘The Big Bang Theory’ for once, for crying out loud,” Fey said. “Modern Family” won for best overall cast in a TV comedy show. Accepting for the cast, “Modern Family” co-star Jesse Tyler Ferguson offered thanks to the makers of “30 Rock” and another departing series, “The Office,” saying “you all have set the comedy bar so high.”

Ferguson joked that if the “30 Rock” or “The Office” stars need jobs, they should contact the “Modern Family” casting director. The TV drama acting awards went to Claire Danes of “Homeland” and Bryan Cranston of “Breaking Bad.” “It is so good to be bad,” Cranston said. “Downton Abbey ” won the T V drama cast award. Julianne Moore’s turn as Sarah Palin in “Game Change” earned her the TV prize for best actress in a movie or miniseries. Kevin Costner won for best actor in a movie or miniseries for “Hatfields & McCoys.” Fey, who memorably spoofed Palin herself in “Saturday Night Live” sketches, said backstage that Moore’s performance was “incredible. She really disappeared into the character, she did a real film acting job. You wouldn’t want a sketch

Actor Daniel Day-Lewis accepts the award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role for ‘Lincoln’.

Actress Jennifer Lawrence accepts the award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role for ‘Silver Linings Playbook’.

Nicole Kidman presents the award for outstanding male actor in a supporting role to Tommy Lee Jones for his role in ‘Lincoln.’

TELEVISION Best Ensemble Cast, Drama “Downton Abbey” Best Actor, Drama Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad” Best Actress, Drama Claire Danes, “Homeland” Best Ensemble Cast, Comedy “Modern Family” Best Actor, Comedy Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock” Best Actress, Comedy Tina Fey, “30 Rock” Best Actor, Television Movie/Miniseries Kevin Costner, “Hatfields & McCoys” Best Actress, Television Movie/Miniseries Julianne Moore, “Game Change” Lifetime Achievement Dick Van Dyke — Reuters

Anne Hathaway accepts the award for outstanding female actor in a supporting role for ‘Les Miserables’.

Phyllis Logan accepts the award for outstanding ensemble in a drama series for ‘Downton Abbey’.

acting job in that movie.” Earlier, the James Bond adventure “Skyfall” and the fantasy series “Game of Thrones” picked up prizes for best stunt work, honors announced on the red carpet before the official SAG Awards ceremony. JoBeth Williams and Scott Bakula announced the winners, noting the value of stunt players, who often are overlooked for their contributions to film and television. “The stunt men and women of our union are critical to the work that gets done,” Bakula said. “They keep us healthy, they keep us alive, they keep us working. They keep our shows working.” The SAG honors are the latest show in a puzzling Academy Awards season in which Hollywood’s top prize, the best-picture Oscar, looks up for grabs among several key nominees. Honors from the actors union, next week-

Actor Bryan Cranston accepts the award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series for ‘Breaking Bad’.

Actress Claire Danes accepts the award for Outstanding Per formance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series for ‘Homeland’.

Winners FILM Best Ensemble Cast “Argo” Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln” Best Actress Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook” Best Supporting Actor Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln” Best Supporting Actress Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables”

Actress Julianne Moore, winner of Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries for ‘Game Change.’

Jesse Tyler Ferguson (speaking), Sofi≠a Vergara, Julie Bowen, Eric Stonestreet, and the rest of the ‘Modern Family’ cast accept the award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series.

end’s Directors Guild of America Awards and Saturday night’s Producers Guild of America Awards - whose top honor went to “Argo” - typically help to establish clear favorites for the Oscars. But Oscar night on Feb. 24 looks more uncertain this time after some top directing prospects, including Ben Affleck for “Argo” and Kathryn Bigelow for “Zero Dark Thirty,” missed out on nominations. Both films were nominated for best picture, but a movie rarely wins the top Oscar if its director is not also in the running. Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” would seem the Oscar favorite with 12 nominations. Yet “Argo”

and Affleck were surprise best-drama and director winners at the Golden Globes, and then there’s Saturday’s Producers Guild win for “Argo,” leaving the Oscar race looking like anybody’s guess. The SAG honors at least should help to establish solid front-runners for the stars. All four of the guild’s individual acting winners often go on to receive the same prizes at the Academy Awards. Last year, the guild went just three-for-four - with lead actor Jean Dujardin of “The Artist” and supporting players Octavia Spencer of “The Help” and Christopher Plummer of “Beginners” also taking home Oscars. —AP

29 Jan  
29 Jan  

Kuwait Times