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Pope Benedict to step down in historic move Citing poor health, pontiff first to resign in 600 years conspiracy theories

Feeling unsafe

Court refuses to call PM in Barrak’s case By B Izzak

By Badrya Darwish


s of late our editorial office has been receiving many calls from expats complaining that they were victims of street crime. We have almost turned into a 112 call centre. On the one hand, this makes me proud that people look at us and our integrity that we will try to help by passing their problems to the right officials or authority. On the other hand, this means that thieves are targeting anything they find on a victim, especially mobile phones and cash. What is happening in Kuwait? Why have we reached this point where people who have no wasta (connections) have to call the media for help? Why there should be wasta in cases like this and why do you need wasta if you are mugged on the street? We ask every caller in distress to describe the scene of the theft. Most of them confirm that those who rob them speak Arabic. They are usually not less than three teenagers who surround the unsuspecting pedestrian and snap his phone or bag from him/her. Then the trio starts running. The same scenario applies to most of the cases who call and ask us for help. We cannot say that the perpetrators are from this or that nationality. Continued on Page 2

KUWAIT: The criminal court yesterday turned down a request by lawyers defending former opposition MP Musallam Al-Barrak to call the prime minister to testify in the case in which Barrak is charged of insulting HH the Amir at a public rally last October. The court however agreed to call the head of the preventive security department to testify in the next hearing set for March 11, as the hearing yesterday was held amid unprecedented tight security measures outside and inside the Palace of Justice. Barrak told reporters after the session that the court should call Prime Minister HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Muabrak Al-Sabah to testify in the case because he had informed a deleMusallam Al-Barrak gation of former opposition MPs that the single-vote law did not serve the interests of Kuwait. The former lawmaker said that the prime minister had also told the delegation that “there was nothing he could do and advised us to go His Highness the Amir and that’s why we spoke directly to the Amir”. Barrak is being tried on charges that he made remarks at a public rally deemed offensive to the Amir and undermined his status and authority. The court also refused another request by lawyers to invite a number of former opposition MPs to testify on what the prime minister had said. Barrak also said Continued on Page 2

VATICAN CITY: Pope Benedict XVI yesterday announced he would resign, citing old age, in a stunning announcement that marked a first in the modern history of the Catholic Church. The German-born pope said he would step down on Feb 28, which will make him the first pontiff to resign in centuries. “I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry,” the 85-year-old pope said in a speech delivered in Latin at a meeting of cardinals in the Vatican. Dressed in red vestments and his voice barely audible as he read from a written text, the pope made the announcement in a hall in his residence - the Apostolic Palace next to St Peter ’s Square. Vatican

Pope Benedict XVI spokesman Federico Lombardi said he expected a conclave of cardinals to be held in March within 15 or 20 days of the resignation and a new pope elected before Easter Sunday

Max 25º Min 11º High Tide 00:42 & 13:48 Low Tide 07:40 & 19:44

on March 31. Benedict, an academic theologian who has written numerous books including a trilogy on the life of Jesus Christ (PBUH) that he completed last Christmas, will retire to a monastery within the Vatican walls. “In order to govern the ship of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me,” the pope said. “For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Continued on Page 13



KUWAIT: Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr Al-Thani addresses the opening of the first international conference of the Council of Arab and international relations in Kuwait yesterday.

KUWAIT: Kuwait’s former foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed AlSabah, Lebanese former premier Fuad Siniora, former Arab League chief Amr Mussa and Sudanese minister of investment Mostafa Othman attend the opening of the first international conference.

KUWAIT: Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi sits next to Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris and Kuwait’s former foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed Al-Sabah (R), during the opening ceremony. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Arab-international conference begins KUWAIT: Under patronage of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and with attendance of His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber AlMubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, as representative of His Highness the Amir, the First International

Conference of the Arab and International Relations Council was inaugurated yesterday under the theme, “the Arab world and the globe; Future Outlook.” Mohammad Jassem Al-Sager, the chairman of the council, opened the event with a state-

ment, and Sheikh Hamad Bin Jabr Al-Thani, the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Qatar, was next to address the summiteers. The inaugural session was attended by Acting Speaker of the National Assembly Mubarak AlKhurainej, Deputy Prime Minister

and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, sheikhs, ministers, governors, visiting former Iraqi prime minister Iyad Allawi, former Lebanese prime minister Fuad Al-Siniora, senior state officials, and eminent guests— KUNA

Culture of tolerance in Arab world highlighted ‘Ambassador of Peace’ visits Kuwait By Nawara Fattahova

KUWAIT: Former Iraqi prime minister Iyad Allawi (right), and former Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanov attend the opening ceremony.

Feeling unsafe Continued from Page 1 It is the job of the police to find out who commits crimes. Many people say that they do turn to the police with their problems. At the police station, however, they are usually asked to sit for hours before they are called in to register their case. Most of them are also asked to come back many times. They are asked the same questions repeatedly. I do not know if this is the proper work of the police and if calling them again to provide the same details is according to the

protocols. Only the Ministry of Interior can answer the questions on how they help expats who were robbed and what do they do to catch the perpetrators. If this has been happening on the streets of Kuwait for quite some time, this means that the thieves feel comfortable continuing what they are doing best - theft. If this continues, a small crime of snatching a mobile phone can worsen with time. I think it is high time security measures be enforced stringently all over Kuwait so we can feel safe like we did a few years ago.

Court refuses to call PM in... Continued from Page 1 that he had requested the court to lift a ban on his travel because there is no fear that he will escape. In a related development, opposition groups delayed for a second time the formation of a broad opposition coalition after a meeting at the residence of former MP Mohammad Al-Khalifa that continued until late on Sunday night. The meeting was preceded by another opposition meeting that included trade unions and student organizations and a number of former MPs to discuss the same issue amid reports that the opposition is not entirely united about what should be done in the coming period. Khalifa however said that the opposition has decided to hold its next meeting on Sunday to announce the names of the politburo of the proposed coalition. Barrak also said that the meeting discussed intensely a paper presented by a preparatory committee formed last week and it was decided to give more time for various groups and trade unions to submit their viewpoints by today to be inte-

grated and discussed next Sunday. In Assembly news, seven MPs announced yesterday the formation of a new bloc called the Future Bloc consisting of MPs Ahmad Al-Mulaifi, Saleh Ashour, Khalil Al-Saleh, Nawaf Al-Fuzai, Abdullah Al-Tameemi, Yacoub Al-Sane and Hisham Al-Baghli. The foreign relations committee meanwhile approved the Arab treaty for combating organized crime, the Arab anti-corruption agreement and the Arab anti-money laundering agreement. Meanwhile, several MPs criticized Finance Minister Mustafa Al-Shamali for being uncooperative over the issue of writing off the interest on loans ahead of a crucial meeting over the issue today. MP Ahmad Lari said that Shamali has magnified the cost of the process which was put at around KD 2 billion in a report sent to the financial and economic affairs committee. The Assembly last week agreed to postpone the debate over a draft law calling for waiving interest on all loans between Jan 1, 2002 and April 1, 2008 in order to provide the government time to prepare its opinion on the sensitive issue.

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Journalists’ Association (KJA) yesterday hosted a seminar featuring Alfredo Maioleseis Faysal, President of European Muslim League and the Ambassador of Peace of the International States Parliament for Safety and Peace who converted to Islam. Maioleseis is also the representative of Kuwait’s Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in Italy and a professional mediator for resolution of social conflicts. On a tour of the region starting from Kuwait, Alfredo Maioleseis Faysal said it was prompted by the attacks from the West on Islam and Islamic countries, and particularly the GCC countries. “The purpose of this visit is to collect information and documents on religious tolerance in the region to be included in a research study done over a period of seven to twelve months. During this study, certain videos will be recorded and put together in a documentary which will then be shown in different cities around the world, including Europe and the United States,” he noted. This documentary will show the world that Islamic countries do not want war on the issue of religion. “The research is related to issues such as security and safety, supporting peace in the world, spreading tolerance among different cultures, respecting customs and traditions of the community, spread-

ing Islam and improving its view in the West, and others,” he added. He also visited some churches in Kuwait. “I prepared reports about the churches in Kuwait to show the West the freedom available to minorities here compared to the prohibition on building mosques in Europe, for instance. This shows the culture of tolerance in the Arab world and the fact that they are open to other religions since

including the Vatican to show them the reality of good Muslims. In the West, if somebody collected donations to build a mosque, they star t asking and investigating about the source of the money and why it was being collected, while if people here donated money to build a church, nobody has to give any explanation,” he further said. The GCC countries are the most criticized among the Islamic coun-

Alfredo Maioleseis Faysal Christians are able to practice their rituals freely,” explained Maioleseis. “It is not possible to build a mosque in Vatican (the heart of Christianity) or a church in Makkaha or Medina. We will hold conferences in different countries especially in European cities

tries and this was the reason for Maioleseis to focus on them. “The Gulf region is a hotspot area and there is a war on against the GCC countries, as the West was spreading rumors about them being against other religions, while in fact, there are churches in most

GCC countries. I have chosen to start from Kuwait as it has a good reputation and is not as criticized as the KSA,” he said. On the Syrian issue, he said that they can only work on the aid part. “We, for instance, provide medicines and money, and also cooperate with Russia and Iran in providing help to the Syrians. I work on sending messages about the real situation in Syria as in Europe only the diplomats understand what is really going on while the simple ordinary people do not,” stressed Maioleseis. “My message is: if we want to evaluate others, we should first evaluate ourselves. I think that the Arabs should regain their old role and position which they had during the rule of Prophet Mohammed’s companions ‘Sahaba’. People should understand real Islam which is about peace and love in the same way as I know it,” he pointed out. Maioleseis also narrated the stor y about how he conver ted to Islam after he met a Saudi Sheikh in London who invited him to his house and told him everything about Islam in gentle, tolerant way. He then travelled to Saudi Arabia, where he converted to Islam after he received signs. When he returned to his homeland Italy, his parents were sad at his decision, but after sometime he convinced his father to convert to Islam and he also made 17 other people convert to Islam.

Kuwait plans workshops on Hemophilia KUWAIT: Kuwaiti Society for Pediatrics announced yesterday it will be holding awareness workshops for parents and children of Hemophilia, and Von Willebrands hereditary diseases. Workshops will be held on Feb 16 at Discovery Shopping Mall with participation of a group of pediatric hematologists, and specialized nurses to teach domestic care for such diseases, the rapporteur of Kuwaiti Society for Pediatrics, general pediatric consultant and pediatric hematologist in Mubarak Hospital, Sondos Al-Shereedah, said.

The workshops, organized by Dr AlShereedah and Head of Kuwaiti Society for Pediatrics, pediatric specialist Dr Maha Jassim Bourisly, were called “Superilia” to indicate the headedness of Hemophilia patients. The workshops aim at educating parents of patients about complications of the disease, proper ways of offering injections to their ill children, besides dealing with emergency situations to avoid acute bleeding cases. Hemophilia is a group of hereditary genetic disorders that impair the body’s ability to control blood clotting or coagula-

Former minister calls for ‘listening’ to youth activists KUWAIT: Former Foreign Minister Sheikh Dr. Mohammad Al-Sabah urged the government to listen to the demands of young citizens who, he said, “are leading the political movement in the country.” Dr. Al-Sabah’s statements came on the sidelines of the inauguration of the ‘Young Engineers are Future Leaders’ conference where he delivered his keynote address. “[Young citizens] are the future and they are the ones who are going to mainly determine the direction of the political movement, not political groups,” he told Al-Rai on Sunday, adding that the current movement was being led the young people, and “therefore their demands need to be given serious attention.” During his speech, Dr. Al-Sabah mentioned environment, information boom and demographics as the three key challenges facing young engineers. He also pointed out the “concern in Kuwait and the Gulf region in general about Iran’s nuclear plants,” saying that Kuwait’s concern about the Bushehr reactor was environmental in nature in the first place “because any fault not only would threaten Kuwait, but the entire region.”

UN Resolution 833 settled borders KUWAIT: Kuwaiti diplomatic quarters insisted that demarcation of the country’s borders with Iraq was already settled through United Nations Resolution number 833 which was adopted in 1993, and also pointed out the agreement between the two countries with regards to the construction of the Mubarak Port. The insiders who spoke on the condition of anonymity were commenting on recent statements by Iraqi Transportation Minister Hadi Al-Omari in which he indicated that his country was working with its neighbors to finalize border demarcation issues through dialogue. “What is going on right now is maintenance of the border markers as per which the demarcation was made,” the sources told Al-Qabas newspaper. Al-Omairi had also mentioned Kuwaiti-Iraqi efforts to end the dispute over Kuwait’s plans to build a mega port east of the Boubyan Island, and its potential effect on navigation in Iraqi waters.

tion, which is used to stop bleeding when a blood vessel is broken. Al-Shreeda said that there are two types of Hemophilia, type (A) caused by lack of eighth clotting factor, while type (B) is caused by lack of ninth clotting factor. In rare cases, hemophilia might be discovered in the child without any family history, and the percentage of such cases is 30%, and it is caused due to mutation in genes, Dr Al-Shereeda explained. There is no complete cure for hemophilia while patients can take injections containing the lacked clotting factor in order to live a normal life, Al-Shereedah said. — KUNA




in brief

Largest investment complex KUWAIT: The total number of investment residential apartments in Salmiya reached 19155 of which 93.8 per cent are already inhabited with an average monthly rent of KD 281, according to recent statistics with the real estate union. Salmiya, which is part of Hawalli governorate, is the largest investment real estate complex in Hawalli, and also Kuwait in general. Rent value has jumped 5.7 per cent in the period between the fourth quarter of 2010 and the third quarter of 2011 to reach an average of KD 281, up from KD 265. It was the highest figure in Kuwait’s real estate market, thanks to the superior quality of buildings in Salmiya. According to the union, 993 apartments in Salmiya were vacant out of a total of 16854 by the fourth quarter of 2010 while 1304 units were under construction during the same period. The union added that by the third quarter of 2011, only 197 out of 19155 apartments were vacant while 1712 units were under construction. MRI waiting time reduced Kuwait’s Health minister Dr. Mohammed Al-Haifi announced that the waiting period for a patient scheduled to undergo MRI investigations in various public hospitals was recently reduced from 2-3 months to two weeks only. Speaking after a meeting with leaders of health zones and hospital directors, Al-Haifi stressed that medical staff members were undergoing special training courses on how to receive patients in a cordial fashion that would help boost their spirits. E-Square project The Ministry of Education’s assistant undersecretary for public education affairs, Mohammed Al-Kandari, appreciated the success achieved in applying the E-Square project in collaboration with a specialized private company and said it underlined the importance of utilizing the private sector in educational development. AlKandari stressed that the project was an integral part of the ministry’s e-learning strategy and its application in various educational areas across 300 schools exhibited encouraging signs. He also urged the area directors and the computer general supervision staff to study the possibility of extending the project to cover all public schools. Salmonella tests enquiry The chairperson of Kuwait’s Union of Cooperative Societies (KUCS), Abdul Aziz Al-Samhan, stressed that the union had recently contacted the health ministry and the municipality requesting latest information about the salmonella-infected chicken found in some health facilities so that it could act accordingly and protect consumers. Speaking on the sidelines of signing of a contract to build new warehouses for the union, AlSamhan slammed the sluggishness with which the union’s request was being handled. “What is behind this secrecy about the results of the lab tests of the specimens taken?” he wondered, noting that the union would not stand by doing nothing. “We will take preventive measures by banning the display of the concerned company’s products till the final results of the tests are revealed,” he underlined. Error at fingerprint devices The Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW) recently discovered that all its fingerprint devices were out of order and called upon all employees to re-scan their fingerprints once the system was repaired. In this regard, informed sources said that a ministerial directive urged all of MEW’s 14,000 employees to go back to the ministry to record their fingerprints once again, otherwise they would be considered absent and subjected to legal accountability. The sources also noted that the system that malfunctioned had been installed only recently and the break down seemed a deliberate act of sabotage which calls for an investigation to identify the culprit.

League lauds Amir’s initiative for Syria CAIRO: Arab League Council lauded the initiative of His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlJaber Al-Sabah during the international humanitarian pledging conference for Syria which was held in Kuwait last month, Ambassador Jamal Al-Ghunaim, Kuwait’s Permanent Representative to the Arab League said here Monday. Speaking after the conclusion of the extraordinary session for the Arab League Council, Al-Ghunaim said that Secretary General of the League Nabil El-Araby and Arab representatives lauded the $1.5 million pledge made at the conference, stressing that such gesture was expected from the leadership of Kuwait. Al-Ghunaim said that he had briefed the meeting on Kuwait’s contributions aimed at finding a solution to the Syrian crisis as well as the country’s efforts in helping Syrian refugees. Meanwhile, Secretary General El-Araby said that the meeting discussed the Arab League’s missions to countries neighboring Syria, namely Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon. The Arab League report called for increasing relief aid and support to the Syrian refugees residing in neighboring countries. The Arab League also discussed a report on the situation in Syria, calling on the international community to end the on-going crisis which flared in March 2011. El-Araby touched on the Palestinian cause, noting that a similar conference should be held to support Palestinians. He indicated that a meeting for Palestine would be held next November to tackle the Israeli settlements building and finding means to halt such illegal acts. — KUNA

Jaafarite Waqf Forum kicks off KUWAIT: Under the patronage of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Fourth Jaafarite Wafq Forum kicked off here with the participation of Minister of Justice, Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Shareeda Al-Muosherji. “The Muslim nation is undergoing critical time and needs to effectively employee waqfs (endowments) to achieve the aspired development,” Minister Muosherji said at the opening session of the forum. He described the Jaafarite Wafq Directorate, of the Ministry’s Awqaf Secretariat General, as a role model in this sector. Minister Muosherji underlined the important role of Waqf (endowments) in history of Islam, and thanked HH the Amir for his sponsorship of the event. He also expressed gratitude to various public and grass-root authorities and associations contributing to the gathering. The four-day event would tackle a wide array of key issues relative to the endowments and charity work. A large number of Kuwaiti and nonKuwaiti scholars will to take part in activities of the planned event. — KUNA

Peruvian food fest set to tickle Kuwait’s taste buds JW Marriott joins hands with Peru Embassy, NCCAL By Sajeev K Peter KUWAIT: The gourmet lovers in Kuwait are in for a pleasant surprise! The exquisite culinary diversity of Peru will be served hot during the first-ever Peruvian food festival in Kuwait that will be held at the Restaurant La Brasserie in JW Marriott Kuwait from March 10 to 15. The festival, organized by JW Marriott Hotel in collaboration with the Embassy of Peru in Kuwait and the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters (NCCAL), Kuwait, will also showcase the rich cultural heritage of the South American country alongside the event. Giving an overview of the food festival yesterday, George Aoun, Cluster General Manager of JW Marriott Hotel, Kuwait and Gustavo Bravo, Charge d’Affaires ad interim of the Embassy of Peru in Kuwait, said, “It will not only be a food festival, but also a cultural event. A group of Peruvian professional dancers will be brought to Kuwait exclusively for the event to perform ‘Marinera’, the elegant and complex Peruvian national dance during the event,” they said. Other varieties of dances will also be per formed in addition to the ‘Marinera’ during the event. Touted as a ‘gastronomic superpower’ by the Financial Times, Peruvian cuisine continues to maintain its position at the top of the culinary agenda. Peru has won the top honor as ‘World’s Leading Culinary Destination’ at the 19th World Travel Awards held in New Delhi in December 2012. Renowned for its ingredients and traditional dishes, the Peruvian cuisine

bagged the award after beating other nominees, including China, France, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Thailand and the US. “This gives us the best introduction to Kuwait,” said Gustavo Bravo, commenting on the recognition of Peru as world’s leading culinary destination in 2012. “For the first time in this country, both Kuwaitis and residents will have an opportunity to taste the diversity of Peruvian food. We will have different menus every day. The visitors will have the chance to taste a mix

of ingredients from a vast variety of Peruvian food. We will have ingredients ranging from the coasts of the Pacific ocean, the mountains and highlands of the Andes to the Amazon plateau. Ever y geographical region of the country will be represented at the festival,” Bravo pointed out. Peru continues to stand out internationally as an epicurean destination with its food festivals attracting record number of visitors and Peruvian chefs showcasing their local cuisine around the world.

KUWAIT: Gustavo Bravo (right) speaks as George Aoun looks on during a press conference at JW Marriott Hotel yesterday.— Photo by Sajeev K Peter

“We have been recognized not only by travel agencies, but also by gastronomy specialists from across the world,” Bravo added. The destination is increasingly recognized for its culinary tours, food safaris, world class cooking schools, and foodie fiestas including the Mistura Food Festival, which attracted more than 500,000 people to Lima, the Peruvian capital, in September 2012. “One of Peru’s most famous culinary experts Javier Morante along with chef Joseph D’Costa have been coordinating efforts in the last couple of months to put up the menus and arrange the ingredients to make the food festival a remarkable event,” said George Aoun. Recently, the leading British magazine ‘Stylist’ has named Lima one of ‘the 10 locations where the culinar y-minded should be heading this year.’ Also, according to Stylist’s “10 holidays for the food obsessed” list, Peru is Latin America’s most gourmet cuisine. “ This will be the best exposure of Peruvian culture and gastronomy, and of course there will be a positive impact on tourist numbers,” said Bravo giving an optimistic outlook of the food festival. “We opened the Embassy of Peru in Kuwait in November 2011 and commenced issuing visas from the Consular Section in June 2012. Ever since, we have seen a rise in the number of visitors to Peru from Kuwait. Now, the projection of the embassy is that after this festival, thousands of people from Kuwait will be visiting Peru,” Bravo added.



The column

Deeply in love with Kuwait

Thought crime Kuwait 2013


By Fouad Al-Obaid Twitter: @Fouadalobaid


s of late, we are seeing a new trend of prosecutions against people that have explicitly shared their opinions on matters of State to the masses through various modern communications means only to spark the ire of a State confused as to its very doctrine. Democracy is a given right in a constitution that bloats that We Kuwait have adopted ‘democracy’ as a mean of governance; whereby the constitution regulates our political sphere and yet, this very constitution seems to be at odds with its own spirit of more freedom versus less. At a time when the world is coming to realize that people cannot be constrained by ideological barriers many countries are realizing the freedoms need to be protected and encouraged as a mean for socio-economic development. In Kuwait the pressures emanating from an ongoing political struggle has led to a series of rash decisions fueled by sectarian and tribal fires. When the State is seen as targeting certain individuals while leaving others to roam void of judicial consequences; when the perception of justice is seen by a majority to be selective, it is but natural to create a climate that will become toxic leading to an imminent eruption of public rage. If you remember a time when you were perhaps younger and life has still not corrupted your innate values of justice and morality. I am referring to a time when you were learning to become a citizen in civil society, where you learned the basic of how to interact with other humans, and where you got your cues as to what is accepted/tolerated and what isn’t. As long as you felt that justice was met when you or other people that offended you were adequately punished if even symbolically you understood that being a good, honest, and civil being was the right way to be. If you remember a time when you started to question things, when your curiosity was at its peak -so was your creativity. You learnt that not all truths are good to be stated and that even if they were true, for you learnt gradually that the truth can hurt at times. Now that you are older and are a witness to the events unraveling, is it not time for us all to go back and to ponder on the times we were younger and learn to be more honest. Is it not time for us to reflect on our society and stop thinking about what it is, rather let us not dream of a future where justice, equality and merit become the norm. Let us grab the opportunity to rethink matters and once and for all eliminate the notion of thought crime. We need to think about the future of our State and of its constitution that perhaps in the near future would need to be amended to truly fulfill our collective aspiration. The prosecutions currently underway against various politicians because of blatant observations on the current situation they carried out in heated speeches is unacceptable. We need to ingrain the notion of free speech and protect this ability to be blunt for it is the survival of our State that is at stake. The freedoms enjoyed by citizens need to be increased and our objective is to transform our culture into one that is more open to criticism and public debates void of judicial consequences. It is time that we start evolving incorporating global best practices, for a intellectually free society is one that sets itself towards the path of enlightenment, and would be poised to reap the benefits of such intellectual and political opening. In conclusion, I would like for you to contemplate on this saying/poem by ‘Martin Niemoller’ who upon the disillusionment of the ‘Third Reich’ lead to him being sent to concentration camps by Hitler for, ‘not being too enthusiastic about the Nazi movement”! “First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the socialists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Catholic. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.” If today we accept that fellow nationals be sentenced for thoughts they cared to share as outlandish as you may believe they are, tomorrow you may become the target for a slip into tyranny is easier than the rise towards a beacon of liberty and freedom. If you doubt my stream of logic ask the Malians, the Syrians, ask a person unjustly convicted, ask your inner self. You got to watch yourself for tyranny has no boundaries nor does it have a color, religion or shape. Speak up now that you can for tomorrow may bring different fortunes...

kuwait digest

How difficult politics is! By Salah Al-Sayar


opular anger is on the rise against governments in poor and underdeveloped countries. Citizens there are heaping tens of accusations against their governments, official machinery and the state officials themselves. They accuse them of being a failure and of having being corrupted. Governments are at a loss about how to deal with such demands which are rising further. The problems are increasing on the one hand while resources on the other hand are scarce. There are no magic solutions available, and no miracles are happening to stem the sliding situation. The matter is not restricted to poor countries only. Anger is the new natural state of human beings. People in rich or advanced countries are also discontented and mad at their governments. No one is contented or happy with what he or she has. Farmers, laborers, train drivers and pilots, all are full of same rage. In Italy, even the prostitutes came out a few years back to demonstrate and demand that the government roll back some of the laws against them. While my taxi roared inside a momentous tunnel through a mountain, it bumped off a little ditch. As the car shook a little, the driver shouted, “Damn you X,” ‘X’ being the name of a person. I asked him who this X was, and found the driver was referring to the Prime Minister of his government. It was that incident which prompted me to write what I am writing now. Here was a taxi driver who ignored the huge achievement of his government in drilling through a mountain and constructing a tunnel, but concentrated on a small ditch in the road. Taming wild beasts is easier than dealing with the public. Beasts only have one demand which is food, unlike humans who have several demands, and no limits. — Al-Anba

Dear Badrya am Vimal Natarajan. I was born in Kuwait where I did my schooling before moving to the UK where I did my college and university and have been living here for nine years. I came to Kuwait recently to visit my family. I was surprised as well as shocked to see how much Kuwait has changed in recent years. Kuwait’s infrastructure has been developed enormously. I was so happy to see the new Kuwait, but at the same time I was shocked by the crime rate and traffic snarls. When I was in Kuwait, I used to read your column in Kuwait Times. I was happy to see someone reflecting my feelings about Kuwait. I was impressed with your columns in issues like wasta, rumours, police, politics and assembly. I am also a dreamer like you. After a few days, I started seeking out your columns everyday. Now that I have left Kuwait, I felt I had become addicted to your column as I find myself searching for your articles on the internet everyday. I want to convey my appreciation and thanks for your articles. I want to mention that while most of the other columnists blame expatriates for everything in Kuwait, you are one of the few who feel the opposite. Thanks for that. I want to say that all the people are not the same. No five fingers are same. Actually I came to visit my father to convince him to go to India. My father came to Kuwait as a young boy at the age of 17. He is now 63 and retired last year. He has lived most of his life in Kuwait. He feels about Kuwait as his home. He loves Kuwait and he thinks it is his own country and he is a part of it. He does not want to leave Kuwait as he has been living there for almost half a century. As I was trying to convince him to go to India and was pointing out selectively all things negative about Kuwait, my old man started countering me with things positive about Kuwait and tried to convince me to stay with him in this country. He reminded me of all the good things and memories we had in Kuwait as young boys. We used to go to the beach on Thursday evening and stay there all night, cooking and camping. He reminded me so many beautiful things about Kuwait. My elder brother who is living with my father also shares the same dream. He is the one who introduced me to your articles. They still believe that Kuwait will one day become the same old glorious country. He took me to various places and explained all the new upcoming projects in Kuwait. They believe that with all these new projects and infrastructure, Kuwait will become one of the best places to live. They made me rethink about coming back to Kuwait. I am writing you about all this to show that there are expatriates who love Kuwait even more than Kuwaitis themselves and consider it as their home and also have the same dream about Kuwait as you have. I want to mention that “Kuwait is for Kuwaitis” is a wrong slogan. The proper slogan should be that “Kuwait is for all those people who love and respect it.” Love, friendship, peace, respect, trust, responsibility, equality and strong laws are what we need for a better Kuwait to emerge. I want to thank you for spending your precious time reading my mail. May all your dreams for 2013 come true this year. I want to thank you once again for all your articles. May God bless you and may you keep good health. Sorry if I wrote something wrong as this is my first such mail to you. History does not make heroes, yet heroes make history. You are one of them. Long live Kuwait. Regards and thanks, Vimal Natarajan

kuwait digest

Influence of teaching methods By Dr Yaqoub Al-Sharrah


odern teaching methods are given a high level of importance by advanced educational systems which focus on contemporary trends in solving problems, using interactive techniques and self-education as well as other examples proven to be the most successful in influencing the educational process and stimulating creativity. On the other hand, it is found that the most underdeveloped methods of education are those based mainly on indoctrination and rote learning. Kuwait’s educational system is still based on asking students to memorize, a method used ‘skillfully’ by teachers who use redundant tests as the sole measure to assess a student’s success or failure. The criteria to achieve excellence in this case would be to memorize and recall information, a method that is at the center of academics for both students and teachers in order to pass their class. But educational gains from this method are temporary since all information is vulnerable to loss within a short span of time after the exams. In this kind of environment, education deviates away from achieving its goals which should be based on certain standard objectives, such as skill learning and behavioral characteristics which help evolve personality. Field studies indicate that the teaching method is crucial for an educational system to achieve its goals, and the teacher is the main factor in its success. While teaching methods vary, there are basic standards that must be taken into account when preparing to teach a class. There is a different way for teaching every sub-

ject, and the criteria to determine a teacher’s success depend on their commitment to the standards. Our educational system suffers a problem in the form of having diverse nationalities of teachers. Official statistics show that 37 percent of middle school teachers and 42 percent of teachers who teach science and mathematics are expatriates, while 19 percent of English language teachers are also expatriates. Field studies show that a majority of these teachers have scientific, educational and social backgrounds that hardly result in efficient teaching, and that many of them do not teach based on proper teaching standards. This is evident by their failure to learn from their previous experiences and level of mental growth of their students, not to mention their failure to keep up with modern teaching methods. The teachers’ failure to utilize modern and different teaching methods is arguably to blame for learning difficulties that students face, according to field studies. It affects their ability to respond positively to the information they are given, as well as their motivation to learn. It depends upon the teachers that their students learn in a proactive manner and reach their goals. Unfortunately, Kuwait’s educational system lacks a competency standard based on which teachers’ efficiency can be assessed. Hopefully more effort would be made to improve the efficiency levels of teachers because we cannot achieve much and have advanced schools while having subpar teachers. —Al-Rai

kuwait digest

When conscience dies By Dr Shamlan Al-Essa


espite the international organizations’ persistent condemnation of Kuwait on the issue of human rights, the government, National Assembly and the private sector continue to ignore and neglect all legal demands by poor immigrant laborers working in the countr y. Recently, newspapers carried reports about cleaning workers striking work at the social care homes demanding an increase in their salaries from KD60 to KD100. The strike was aimed against the company that brought them to Kuwait to work for the government at the social affairs ministry. The striking workers told journalists that the company had promised a salary of KD100 but reneged on it and is now firing those who demand their rights and is refusing to renew the residence (iqama) permits for a large number of workers whose iqamas have expired. On top of it, the workers were also enraged at the fact that the company was deducting KD100 if they asked for annual leave and any one refusing to pay was not to be allowed to go. The tragedy is that all this is going on while our government and people who support it from the domain of business and even journalists are all claiming that no violation of human rights was taking place in Kuwait. Our salaries as citizens almost doubled in recent years and our government subsidizes everything from fuel to chicken and cheese. Despite that, the National Assembly is asking for more for Kuwaiti citizens. Although most government workers are not committed to work, do not produce much and hardly make any effort to improve their productivity but are forever being given more and more financial incentives. So, why do we deprive the ragged class of workers who work hard day and night to keep us happy and our homes, streets and areas clean of their rights and deny them decent salaries? Everyone knows that salaries of domestic helpers increased from

KD60 to KD 120 or $400. The citizen who wants to bring in Asian laborers himself receives these enhanced wages. Why, then, does the government and labor-recruit-

Why should a wealthy and revenue surplus country and its private companies confiscate the rights of simple people? Why it does not defend their rights instead of deporting them when they ask for the simplest of their rights? Where are the people of mercy and good deeds in Kuwait? Where are the groups of Political Islam that have hundreds of charity societies with the claim that their funds are meant to help the poor around the world? ing companies flinch from giving better wages to those simple workers? We have a human rights committee here in Kuwait and another at the National Assembly. Why did

they not defend the humanitarian rights of the people working in Kuwait? The answer is simple: they are not citizens of Kuwait and many of them are non-Muslims. Earlier, the Kuwait Human Rights Society was the pride of Kuwait and the region because it used to defend the rights of people and safeguard their humanity. But today, after the political Islam groups took over the society, we no longer hear it defending the oppressed. One of the strangest ironies, according to my information, is that the government pays more than KD 120 to the recruiting companies to bring each laborer. , In that case, why do these companies turn misers and confiscate the rights of simple people? There may be some people who will claim that cleaning companies want to make a profit and this is normal but what is not normal is to use such workers who sold their animals and all their savings to come to Kuwait, which they perceive as God’s paradise in their dreams, to find out that their salaries have been reduced and there is no one to defend their rights. Why should a wealthy and revenue surplus country and its private companies confiscate the rights of simple people? Why it does not defend their rights instead of deporting them when they ask for the simplest of their rights? Where are the people of mercy and good deeds in Kuwait? Where are the groups of Political Islam that have hundreds of charity societies with the claim that their funds are meant to help the poor around the world? Why are they not helping and defending our brothers in humanity? Why did we lose our human touch? Is that because of our wealth and preoccupation? Or is it because of our backward civilization? Or is our social culture so deteriorated and backward that we only think about our families, tribes and sects? We do not know the real reason but one thing is certain: when all this happens, our conscience dies. —Al-Watan

kuwait digest

The culture of corruption By Dr. Mohammad Al-Moqatei


f a comprehensive survey study was carried out about corruption in Kuwait, you probably wouldn’t find warehouses big enough to contain all the files opened as part of the study. It was fifty years ago when the parliament and cabinet agreed to form Kuwait’s first anticorruption committee. Talking about corruption has become the way for every politician, official, MP and even the government to avoid becoming the subject of accusations. The corruption card became a regular feature on the political table of bargaining as we’ve seen many suggestions proposed, projects forwarded, committees formed, meetings held and agreements reached claiming of fighting corruption. Yet, corruption was never eliminated nor has its spread been curbed, perhaps because those who claim to be fighting it are actually the main people promoting it. To put it simple, corruption has become a social culture. The government perhaps allows for it to happen and manages it, while the parliament defends it and is involved in it. State departments have turned into a vehicle for corruption, while the people use corrupt methods as they race to achieve their interest and gains. The situation in the country is spiraling downwards because corruption is the case with everyone. The political situation we suffer from today is perhaps the result of corrupt governmental and parliamentary work that culminated over the years. Personal interests, narrow-mindedness and both open and hidden struggle have blinded the mind and vision, leading each party to attack the either on the expense of the nation. The country is moving steadily towards collapsing as they continue with their hardheadedness. I am addressing both the government and the opposition to have mercy on both the nation and its people because there is no real political victory in what they are doing. It is a delusion to live off of the victory of elections that lack public acceptance and national accord. A state cannot stand without a clear reference, and Kuwait’s reference is its constitution and judicial system. There is no use in obstinacy. The opposition is composed of political groups and individuals who form the Majority Bloc, which later bred the National Front and the Opposition Coalition. The names are different but in essence they are all the same. This is a fact known by everyone in Kuwait. We need a solution that takes the country out of its current ordeal and achieve national unity. This can be achieved through reconciliation in which personal accounts and considerations of victory and loss are left out. Kuwait deserves to have us to reconcile in order to maintain its status, even if personal interests had to be sacrificed. It is time to put our country ahead. —Al-Qabas



Top priority to improving state agencies’ efficiency Plans to draw expertise from around the world DUBAI: Kuwait’s Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs and Minister of State for Municipal Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Mubarak AlSabah said yesterday that the state is doing all in power to ameliorate public services and improve performance of government bodies. In statements on the sidelines of his participation in the Government Summit 2013 which kicked off here yesterday, Sheikh Mohammad added that the state is exerting great efforts to eradicate bureaucratic procedures in government agencies. The minister noted that Kuwait is studying the best practice-examples in this regards from all over the world to apply what suits it.

The Government Summit aims to draw expertise from around the world and act as a platform for innovation and knowledge sharing. Billed as the largest government gathering in the Arab world, the summit has attracted 2,500 participants and will include speakers from specialized research centers in government development in Denmark, Canada, Australia, South Korea and Brazil, as well as the Middle East. The agenda includes plenary sessions and workshops and a ministerial roundtable with ministers from around the world sharing their insights and recommendations on how government services can be more effective, efficient and

citizen-oriented. Discussion topics include government services in global cities; social media as a tool for citizen engagement; future scenarios for effective service delivery; innovative partnerships with the private sector; building a service culture in the government sector; tools to improve government services; delivering quality public services; measuring development; and citizen services. With the theme ‘leading government services’, the summit would help improve government services, strengthen cooperation and coordination between the federal and local governments, and build the skills and capacity of nationals towards best global and local practices. — KUNA

Economic performance expected to improve through mega projects KUWAIT: The year 2013 is forecast to witness revival of activity in the economic and investment sectors due to planned launch of mega development projects that would pump liquidity into the finance market, according to Kuwaiti experts. Chairman of the Saudi Holding Projects Group Walid Al-Houti said, in an interview with KUNA conducted as part of a report released by the news agency’s Economic and Petroleum Affairs Department, said the current year would witness “development that would help stumbling companies to step over their predicaments, namely the forecast launch of development ventures and resumption of liquidity pumping by the major investors into the finance market.” The Kuwaiti government is planning a series of tactical and strategic ventures, such as construction of a network of bridges, a metro network, and de-centralization of public services and utilities. In his remarks to KUNA, Al-Houti shed light on economic conditions in 2012, noting that companies’ profits rose from KD 900 million on Sept 30, 2011, to KD 1,100 on Sept 30, 2012. The same year also witnessed rise of surplus in the state budget by USD 30 billion, with the price of oil soaring to $105 per barrel, compared to the state projection, upon which the budget was set up, of only $65 pb. This in turn resulted in record rise of the state’s reserves to $300 billion. Elaborating, he said price index of Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) slightly rose, reaching level of 5,874 points - less than the 6,000point psychological ceiling witnessed in recent sessions of the national bourse. Giving opinion on diverse aspects of the

national economy, which are generally interrelated, the company chairman called for “strict laws” to regulate state expenditures, which rose from $23 billion to $70 billion in 2012, due to hike in salaries, thus pushing inflation dramatically higher. Mohammad Ramadan, the deputy chairman of the research department of Senyar Capital Company, meanwhile said that most predictions of 2012 were positive regarding the Kuwaiti banks’ allocations related to the financial crisis of 2008. These allotments had been forecast to drop, gradually, thus the year 2013 was expected to be a normal year regarding these allotments. However, there were extraordinary and huge financial allocations. The year 2012 had also witnessed a series of acquisitions, namely the acquisition by Qtel of more than 40 percent of Wataniya telecom stake. He hoped that 2013 would “be the year of real development, political stability” with forecast high earnings for the companies listed with KSE, as well as hike of stock prices, whetting the appetite of traders. Meanwhile, Director-General of Mena Consultancy Adnan Al-Dulaimi said performance of the local stock market was mixed, in the second half of 2012, and indices restored the same levels that had existed at start of the year, without major changes. “This signals continuity of speculative operations in addition to lack of improvement of stock prices in general,” he added. Elaborating, he indicated at snags in the process of privatization of the bourse, and affirmed that the forecast development projec ts would result in shoring up the economy and restoring banks’ financing and lending. — KUNA

KUWAIT: Kuwait Pearls Co for food supplies announced its golden sponsorship for Kuwait Horeca 2013 exhibition for hotel supplies and food industry which will be held from March 1820. The event is being organized by the Leaders Group for Consultation and Development in cooperation with Hospitality Services, a Lebanese firm. The General Director of Pearls of Kuwait Co., Khalid Ben Abdul Aziz Al-Tamimi, said sponsoring the exhibition would give his firm a good chance to introduce their products and excellent services to the public. He said the company was a pioneer in this field and earned the trust of its clients since it was established in 1993. Thanks to continuously developing its products and services, the company won several contracts with different high ranking parties, including the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, Kuwait University, Public Authority for Applied Education, NA Council, KNPC, KOC, KPC National Guards, Public Authority for Compensations and Kuwait Company for External Oil Discovery. The company also won many quality international certificates in this field.

NBK annual walkathon on March 23 with rewarding prizes”, Al Mattar added. NBK strongly supports sporting events and encourages sporting activities as means to promote a healthier and more active lifestyle for members of the community. Throughout the years, NBK also organizes several social awareness programs including educational, environmental, health and many other active initiatives. For more information, visit NBK’s Official Facebook page at NBK Official Page or follow NBK on Twitter @NBKPage.

Manal Al Mattar

Souq Sharq ready for Hala February

Mohammad Merza

Meshari Al-Husaini

Asian dies in Shuaiba fire By Hanan Al Saadoun

Horeca exhibition next month

KUWAIT: The Commercial Bank of Kuwait opened a cultural exhibition in the 360 Mall as part of its Kuwaiti Heritage Campaign held for the second consecutive year. The show will be opened until 10pm today.

KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) announced the launch of its 19th Annual Walkathon that will be held on the March 23. Participants can register for this event starting from Feb 27 at the NBK tent beside the Scientific Center on Gulf Road in Salmiya. “As part of the bank’s dedication to corporate social responsibility, NBK regularly supports events which encourage a healthier lifestyle for members of the community”, said Manal Al Mattar, NBK Public Relations Executive Manager. “NBK’s annual walkathon event is a major component of the bank’s corporate social responsibility program. Over the years, it has garnered huge success and public recognition as being one of the much awaited and anticipated nationwide health and entertainment-related activity.” “NBK looks forward to welcoming the participants and to hand out exciting giveaway prizes. The Walkathon event will feature a host of functions, activities and competitions

KUWAIT: The gypsum factory at Shuaiba area in which fire broke out.

KUWAIT: The Souq Sharq management and the organizing committee of the 2013 Hala February were cooperating with each other about the activities to be held at the mall during this year’s festival. This was announced by Souq Sharq’s Marketing Director Mohammad Merza who indicated that a “program featuring various activities” has been prepared, including a special exhibition for young people’s projects as well as competitions for people of all ages. There would be discounts and special offers at shops inside the mall. Meanwhile, a number of economists released statements acknowledging the “active role” that the festival plays in boosting the state’s economy by attracting tourism and providing a platform for internal trade. They also indicated that this year’s festival would give a break to the citizens and residents of Kuwait as well as tourists from political turmoil created by the Arab Spring. Also, MP Meshari Al-Husaini released a statement praising Hala February as “a national celebration of joy that boosts patriotism at a time when the country was going through political tensions.”

KUWAIT: An Asian laborer died of suffocation when a fire broke out in a gypsum factory at Shuaiba area around midnight last night. Firefighters from Mina Abdulla and Shuaiba fire centers responded when they received a report about the fire and found that the fire had engulfed a bedroom. As they brought the flames under control, preventing these from spreading to the factory itself, they found the body of an Asian laborer who was suffocated by the smoke in his sleep. Investigations are on to determine the reasons that caused the fire. Avenues fire Fire broke out in a shop selling sports shoes at the Avenues on Sunday evening but was brought under control without any casualties. Three fire centers responded swiftly to the report. Firefighters from Shuwaikh industrial fire center, Al-Ardiya fire center and Technical fire center fought the blaze at the first floor shop in the complex, bringing it under control in a remarkably short time. The fire fighting, airing and evaluation teams coordinated in the operation. Brig Khalid Al-Mikrad said that partial evacuation was carried out at the building to ensure the safety of those in the complex. The director of fire department, Lt General Yousuf Al-Ansari, visited the site and supervised the operations. The state minister for council affairs and municipal council minister, Sheikh Mohammad AlAbdulah, himself followed up the matter with fire department director Al-Ansari to

reassure himself that the situation was under control. Also capital fire department director, Colonel Hamad Al-Hadlaq, visited the site along with other fire department officials. Dead body found A man was found dead yesterday in his car which was parked. The body, which was discovered after the Operations Room at the Ministry of Interior received a report, was taken to the medical examiner to determine the reason of death, and to find out if the man died of an overdose of drugs. Savings theft An Egyptian expat in Khaitan area complained to the police about the theft of his savings amounting to KD 3,000, which he had kept in a room which he shared with a compatriot. He told the police that he suspected his roommate who disappeared after the theft was discovered. Rape attempt Two youths tried to rape a Kuwaiti girl inside a toilet, the girl complained to the police. The youths drove a ‘Challenger’ red colored vehicle. She told the police that she was at the sea front but when she came out of one of the restaurants and was walking towards her car, two youths accosted her and pushed her inside a toilet. When she started screaming, they tried to push her into their car but when she continued to resist and scream, they ran away. A case was filed.



Kuwait development plan ‘comes at the right time’ More role for private sector KUWAIT: Kuwait’s draw-up of the development strategy came at a time the country is in great need for catching up with remarkable economic development in other countries of the Gulf region and diversifying non-oil sources of income and slashing dependence on the oil sector, said the Chief Executive Officer of Citibank (Kuwait). Ozgur Kutay said the development plan comes at the right time as Kuwait needs it to be on par with the other countries in the region. The plan will ensure a more dynamic economy and will push the private sector to invest in the country’s growth, diversifying away from oil. Nowadays most of the GCC countries rely on oil for growth in addition to the private sector’s role. However, there is a need to diversify the economy and give the private sector the chance to obtain a larger share in economic projects to be able to play an active role in raising the country’s GDP, added the Citibank CEO. Citi is certainly aware of the development plan which serves as a platform of projects for the infrastructure and economic prosperity of Kuwait. “We took several roles earlier that focused primarily on advising the Kuwaiti government on these projects and plans that included privatization of Kuwait Airlines. As a partner in economic progress, we will also be interested in offering solutions for financing the oil industry, other infrastructure developments through international capital markets products, and bank lending, “ he told Kuwait’s national news agency. The Kuwaiti National Assembly had initially approved the development plan up to 2013/14 the first plan since 1986. It was approved with an estimated KD 37 billion n (USD 125 billion) focusing on both oil and non-oil economic sectors. The plan aims at turning Kuwait into a

regional trade and finance hub, in line with directives and wishes of His Highness the Amir, through sustaining economic development, economic diversification, and GDP growth. The plan envisages mega ventures such as a business hub, also branded as Silk City, with an estimated cost of USD 77 billion, a major container harbor and a 25-km causeway, railway and metro networks, additional spending on new cities, infrastructure and services; particularly in health and education, in addition to KD 25 billion of oil sector investments to raise production capacity and modernize current facilities. Elaborating in his remarks to KUNA, Kutay touched on Citibank services in Kuwait, which include corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, private banking, and wealth management products. “We also offer direct custody and clearing which plays an integral role in the capital markets by providing the clearing and settlement services required for broker dealers and global custodians to support trading and investing activities around the world. Citibank caters to both the public sector and top tier corporate clients. “ We recently celebrated our 200th year anniversary as the first branch opened in 1812 in New York and at the same time celebrated our presence in Kuwait for the sixth year.” Asked to “evaluate the Citibank relationship with the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) and Kuwaiti banks”, he responded, “We have a direct and positive relationship with CBK officials, and CBK is among many central banks in the region which are also our clients in the United States, Citi being the principle dollar correspondent bank for them. “Competition with the Kuwaiti banks exists of course, but the relationship is mostly complementary, since many of these banks are also our clients, so we enjoy a two-

sided relationship with them. I see the competition as a healthy thing because it keeps the momentum going for innovative solutions, products, and services.” Asked for an opinion on the current economic status in the US after four years of crises, he said the US economy has “grown itself out of the crisis and stabilized dramatically since 2009. Growth expectations for 2013 are predicting a better year than 2012 for the US. “I do believe that the economy will continue to grow, albeit gradually. I think that the economy has weathered through the tough times due to the US government and Fed’s timely policy responses. The general perception is more hopeful for 2013 due to positive economic signs such as the improvement of the share prices in Citi and other banks.” To the remark that “American banks have a large experience in facing money laundering and anti-terrorism,” and whether the bank shares its expertise in this field with local banks, and asked for an evaluation of GCC countries’ efforts in countering the two problems, he said, “Citi does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions and has been around for the past 200 years. “This legacy and wide network position us uniquely to help protect our clients and our institution. At Citi, we take responsibility in all our transactions and inspect all financial transactions closely to check if they have positive return on us, our clients, the financial system, and shareholders. We have to work in a responsible fashion to benefit our clients using a strategy with clear principles and standards. “As anti-money rules and regulations continuously evolve, we ensure that we observe these rules throughout our branches all over the world and with our clients, in line with local regulations and global standards.” — KUNA

Al-Rashidi opens business incubator KUWAIT: Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Thikra Ayed Al-Rashidi yesterday opened a business incubator aiming to support the successful development of females’ small enterprises. The project is developed by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development (SCPD) and the countr y office of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Addressing the opening ceremony, the minister said: “This is the first such initiative in Kuwait and the Middle East designed to offer

logistic and material support to the female entrepreneurs.” “This project will serve as a nucleus for a chain of business incubators for young male and female entrepreneurs. The ultimate goal is to tap into the potentials of the youth and put in play their role in economic development,” she said. The minister voiced hope that the project will contribute to creating better future for the youth and the countr y, and boosting the woman economic empowerment. On her part, Director of the SCPD Division of Technical Cooperation and Development Support Lana Abu-Eid voiced hope that the

adoption of the law on support to small enterprises will give a quantum leap to the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). “The SMEs account for up to 70 percent of job creating effort and more than 30 percent of GDP of the Arab countries,” she added. Meanwhile, UNDP Resident Representative in Kuwait Mr. Stein R. Hansen said the project will empower women economically through offering solutions to the administrative and bureaucratic problems facing females’ enterprises. Fifty female entrepreneurs have been selected for training under the business incubator, Hansen added. — KUNA

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Oil Company released the newest edition of their children’s book series which provides an introduction to the oil industry and its history in Kuwait.

Reckless driver arrested in Jahra KUWAIT: A reckless driver who caused an accident and was chased by a patrol officer later not only tried to escape but even damaged the patrol vehicle, smashing its windscreen with a hammer, before he was caught in Jahra. The suspect raced away after his reckless driving caused a vehicle to lose balance and over turn near the Liyah entrance. A patrol officer in the Kuwait Army police force, who witnessed the accident, went in pursuit of the suspect and eventually followed him to a camp where the suspect sought shelter. He initially resisted arrest and even smashed the patrol vehicle’s windshield with a hammer. Meanwhile, the driver of the car that was involved in the accident was identified as a sergeant in the Ministry of Defense and was taken to the hospital. Costly boat cruise A thief stole items worth nearly KD1000 after break ing into a car near Shaab beach. The car owner had left the vehicle for a boat cruise, and discovered he had been robbed when he returned. He told officers at the Maidan Hawally police station afterwards that the thief ran away with KD150 in cash, as well as three cell phones and a genuine bisht, a traditional Arabic men’s cloak, worth KD500. Suicide attempt A woman who poured inflammable

substance on her clothes and threatened to herself aflame outside her building was taken into custody in Salmiya. When the police arrived, officers managed to talk her out of her suicide attempt. The Asian national said she was frustrated due to disputes with her fiancé and wanted to commit suicide. Shooting A case was filed in Al-Qusour where a shooting was reported recently. Police found bullet cases from the road separating the area from Al-Qurain. The bullets, according to investigations, were fired from an AK47 assault rifle. Police combed the area in search of the shooter but to no avail. Investigations are on. Four hurt in fights Two Asian men engaged in a scuffle over a dispute about a financial matter and attacked each other with pocket knives in Al-Rai recently. The duo, which fought inside a shop, was rushed to the Sabah Hospital where they were recovering from stab wounds even as police waited for them to be discharged so that they can be held for investigations. Similarly, two men who fought and sustained stab wounds were rushed to the Al-Farwaniya Hospital following a fight repor ted in Khaitan. Both used pocketknives during the fight. A case was filed.

KUWAIT: The Ahmadi governorate municipality carried out a drive to check roaming vendors and other undesirable activities in the governorate. The campaign covered all the governorate areas. The vehicles selling groceries, vegetables, fruits, charcoal etc were checked. Specially set up camps for water pipe smokers at Mina Abdullah desert were also part of the focus. The campaign resulted in the confiscation of 293 boxes containing different kinds of vegetables apart from 120 bags of charcoal, 60 bundles of woods, 22 water pipes, two tents and six chairs.

KIB’s International Visa Prepaid card re-launched KUWAIT: Kuwait International Bank (KIB), a leading Islamic bank in the country, re-launched its International Visa Prepaid card service, which was first released last year on the occasion of Kuwait’s national celebrations. The re-launch came through an exclusive campaign which includes a variety of services and offers, in addition to customer related social initiatives that cement the bank’s position as a leading financial institution in the Islamic banking sector. Commenting on the card’s re launch, Entisar Al-Suwaidi, the General Manager of the Retail Banking Department, said: “The new International Visa Prepaid card generated a positive response with our customers, which highlights the success behind our campaign as well as the confidence of our valued customers in KIB and its services. The card now offers both financial flexibility and controlled spending that can be easily monitored by visiting any KIB branch in Kuwait, in addition to our website and by calling our contact center, “AlDawli Wiyak” on 1866866.” The bank’s International Visa Prepaid card is available for both KIB customers in addition to general consumers, with features that cater to

their needs and are compliant with Islamic Sharia law. Additionally, cardholders can withdraw money from any ATM machine in the world that accepts Visa and make online payments with ease and security. On the occasion of this year ’s national celebrations, KIB is also organizing a series of events to enhance its role as a socially conscious corporation in Kuwait, and as a response to their customers’ confidence in the bank and its offering, KIB

continues to work diligently to improve its services through a variety of initiatives that ensures the delivery of high quality service standards. Kuwait International Bank works diligently to provide unparalleled banking services in compliance with Islamic Sharia law, including real estate, vehicle, and goods murabaha, as well as a variety of Islamic financing services, property management and appraisals, in addition to credit issuance.


Tunisia in crisis with ministers set to quit

37 dead in stampede at India’s Kumbh festival

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HATAY: The remains of cars are pictured yesterday at the Cilvegozu border crossing between Turkey and Syria in Hatay. — AFP

Blast kills 9 on Turkey-Syria border Unclear if blast accidental or suicide attack French, Malian troops regain control of Gao GAO: French and Malian government forces yesterday have regained control of this strategic northern city, after Islamic fighters invaded through the city’s harbor Sunday and fought a protracted battle for hours in the heart of downtown. The brazen assault came after two suicide bombers tried to attack military checkpoints on Gao’s outskirts. Sunday’s assault marked the first time the jihadists had penetrated the city of mudwalled buildings since they fled two weeks ago. Hundreds of Gao residents gathered around the heavily damaged police headquarters in the center of the city early yesterday where body parts lay strewn about. The Al-Qaeda-linked militants concentrated their attack on the police center in northern Mali’s largest city. “Yesterday we heard the gunfire and hid in our homes all evening,” said Soumayla Maiga as he stood with friends near the rubble of the police offices. “We were stunned when we came out and saw what happened.” The radical Islamic fighters from the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, or MUJAO, had ruled Gao for nearly 10 months before they were ousted at the end of January. The black-robed jihadists, armed with AK-47 automatic rifles, returned to the city by crossing the Niger River in wooden boats to launch their assault Sunday afternoon, said French Gen. Bernard Barrera, citing the Malian military. The gun battles lasted more than five hours. By nightfall French military helicopters flew overhead to patrol the city. Two explosions rang out overnight but early yesterday the only sounds in the city were the morning call to prayer and barking dogs. Malian Lt. Col Nema Sagadam said that it was unclear how many jihadist fighters had penetrated the city in Sunday’s attack, though at least 10 were killed by Malian forces. Malian soldiers fired on the police building because the radical Islamic fighters were hiding inside, she said. “We used heavy arms to attack the building because it was infested with militants who were firing at people,” Sagadam said.—AP

REYHANLI: A car exploded at a crossing on Turkey’s border with Syria near the Turkish town of Reyhanli yesterday, killing at least nine people including Turkish citizens and wounding dozens more, officials said. Witnesses said they saw the car drive up to the Cilvegozu border post, one of the main crossing points for Syrian refugees into Turkey, shortly before the explosion. “We don’t know whether this was a suicide bomb or whether a car that was smuggling petrol across the border blew up,” one Turkish official told Reuters. The mayor of Reyhanli told CNN Turk that nine people were killed, four of them Turkish, and that the car which exploded had Syrian

licence plates. Television footage and photographs showed severe damage to a series of vehicles at the border, where a gate was blown open and part of the roof collapsed. Turkey is a staunch supporter of the near two-year uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has harboured both Syrian refugees and rebels. Violence has sometimes spilled over the border. Five Turkish civilians were killed in October when a mortar shell hit a house in the Turkish border town of Akcakale. Turkey has also responded in kind to gunfire and mortar rounds hitting its territory along the 910-km (565-mile) border and is hosting six NATO Patriot missile batteries

meant to defend it against attacks from Syria. Tensions have increased in recent weeks after NATO said it had detected launches of short-range ballistic missiles inside Syria, several of which have landed close to the Turkish border. Turkey has scrambled warplanes along the frontier, fanning fears the war could spread and further destabilise the region. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan interrupted a cabinet meeting to be briefed on the explosion, Turkish media reported. The Cilvegozu border gate, several kilometres outside Reyhanli, sits opposite the Syrian gate of Bab Al-Hawa, which the rebels captured last July.

Refugees cross back and forth and Turkish trucks also deliver goods into noman’s land between the two gates, where they are picked up by Syrians. Speaking from scene, Syrian opposition campaigner Osama Semaan said he believed the explosion was an attack by Assad loyalists in response to an offer of talks from opposition Syrian National Coalition leader Moaz Alkhatib. “It seems it is a deadly message from the Syrian regime after Sheikh Moaz offered it to talk in northern Syria,” Seeman said. Alkhatib said on Sunday he was willing to hold talks with Assad’s representatives in rebel-held areas of northern Syria to try to end a conflict that has killed some 60,000 people. — Reuters



Iran nuke fuel move to avert mid-year crisis? LONDON/VIENNA: Iran appears to have resumed converting small amounts of its higher-grade enriched uranium into reactor fuel, diplomats say, a process which if expanded could buy time for negotiations between Washington and Tehran on its disputed nuclear programme. The possibility of Iran converting enriched uranium into fuel - slowing a growth in stockpiles of material that could be used to make weapons - is one of the few ways in which the nuclear dispute could avoid hitting a crisis by the summer. Tehran could otherwise have amassed sufficient stock by June to hit a “red line” set by Israel after which it has indicated it could attack to prevent Iran acquiring enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon. Yet few expect progress in talks until after the Iranian presidential election in June - a formula for a potentially explosive clash of timetables. Diplomats accredited to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna told Reuters that Iran had apparently resumed converting into fuel small amounts of higher-grade enriched uranium - thereby reducing the amount potentially available for nuclear weapons - though they had few details and one told Reuters that “very, very little had been done” so far. A fuller picture is unlikely until a new IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear activity, due by late February. But the question is crucial in determining the size of its stockpiles and how close these are to Israel’s red line. “We will all be doing the mathematics soon,” said one diplomat. In September, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would not let Iran acquire enough material for a bomb; enriching uranium raises the less than one percent of fissile isotope U-235 found in mined metal to higher concentrations: about 4 percent for reactor fuel, up to 90 percent for a bomb.

While scientists differ about how much uranium is needed to have the ability quickly to make a bomb, analysts say the Israeli figure is believed to be 240 kg of uranium enriched to 20 percent; at that concentration, the material is nine tenths of the way to the weaponsgrade of about 90 percent, since most of the unwanted isotopes have been separated out by then. “Israeli officials, in private, widely use the 240kg figure,” said Shashank Joshi, a Research Fellow at Britain’s Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). “The figure is so specific and so widely used that they must understand the implications of drawing this red line: that Iran is free to produce anything up to that amount, but that producing any more would force Israel to choose between humiliation or war.” Iran averted a potential crisis last year by converting around 100 kg of its 20-percent enriched uranium into fuel - prompting some analysts to believe it was deliberately keeping below the threshold for potential weapons-grade material set by Israel, while still advancing its nuclear technology. It is not believed to have enriched uranium beyond 20-percent. Iran, a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, denies seeking nuclear weapons, saying its aim is electric power and some higher-grade enriched uranium for medical purposes. It says non-signatory Israel, assumed to have nuclear arms, is a threat. Last year’s fuel conversion only slowed Iran’s accumulation of 20 percent enriched uranium and was stopped. As it continues to produce fresh supplies diplomats believe it is adding 14 to 15 kg a month stockpiles are rising quickly and they calculate Iran will hit the Israeli red line by May or June, unless it again expands fuel conversions or slows its rate of enrichment. It is here that the complex calculations of nuclear experts and international diplomacy collide.

Iranian election The Iranian nuclear programme is controlled by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei - who last week publicly rebuffed US overtures for direct talks. While he is not facing voters himself, he is seen as unlikely to want to make any concessions until he has a firmer grip on the warring factions vying for power beneath him after the presidential election in June. “I think, until we get a clearer sense of how that plays out, that the Iranians are going to be basically in a holding pattern,” said Shannon Kile, a nuclear proliferation expert at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Sunday Iran would not negotiate under pressure but would talk if others stopped “pointing the gun”. At odds with Khamenei, Ahmadinejad will step down in June but appears to manoeuvring to maintain influence. At the same time, there appears to be a growing recognition among world powers that using economic sanctions to force Tehran to curb its nuclear programme are unlikely to succeed without a broader political dialogue between the United States and Iran to ease acrimony dating back to the 1979 Iranian revolution. US Vice President Joe Biden repeated an offer for direct talks at a conference in Munich early this month. Negotiations with Tehran are currently run jointly by the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany - known as the P5+1. These are expected to make at best limited progress in a meeting with Iran due in Kazakhstan on Feb 26. “It has been obvious for years that Iran would only move on this issue in the context of a direct dialogue with the US,” said one former senior diplomat who has negotiated with Iran.

“Before that, it will continue to be a managed exercise in futility on the part of Iran waiting for this to happen, while mastering the technology in the process.” Taking the two together, the shifting diplomatic approach and advancing Iranian engineering, there would be a short window of time after June for any USIran talks to produce results. After that, the progress of Iran’s technology could hit new Western red lines, including reaching a perceived “breakout” capacity, where it could move from the ability to make a weapon to actually building a bomb fast enough to avoid detection. How then, is Israel’s red line to be postponed enough to allow time for diplomacy in the second half of the year? Muddling past deadline Iran has shown no sign of slowing down the rate at which it enriches uranium to 20 percent in a plant at Fordow, diplomats say, though, perhaps significantly, it has not so far put into operation some new machinery - two cascades of inter-connected centrifuges which could have rapidly expanded that programme. Based on data reported by the IAEA, the UN nuclear agency, Iran will hit Netanyahu’s red line in May or June unless it converts more of its stockpiles into fuel, or slows enrichment. An alternative scenario would be for Israel to blur the definition of its red line, given enough reassurance that its key ally the United States would be ready to stop Iran gaining nuclear weapons through diplomatic or military means. Having lost seats in a parliamentary election last month at which many voters indicated they did not fully share his anxiety about Iran, Netanyahu may also be ready to bide his time. — AP

Tunisia in crisis with ministers set to quit Hundreds of Tunisians demand govt resignation

BENGHAZI: Armed Libyan civilians man a checkpoint in one of the streets of Benghazi yesterday. — AFP

Libya Christians dread the rise of Islamic extremism TRIPOLI: “Not a day goes by without tombs being vandalised,” says Dalmasso Bruno, caretaker of the Italian cemetery in the Libyan capital where Christians fear rising Muslim extremism. “Human bones have been taken out of their tomb and scattered across the cemetery” in central Tripoli, he said. “The Libyan authorities came and took pictures. They promised to take measures but nothing has been done.” Since the 2011 fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, the small Christian community’s fears for its safety have increased, especially after a church bombing in December killed two people in the Mediterranean town of Dafniya. But despite such fears, dozens of worshippers mostly from India, the Philippines and African nations attend mass each week at the Catholic church of Saint Francis near central Tripoli to pray for security to be restored in Libya. “Look there are no security measures outside the church and the faithful can move around freely around,” said Father Dominique Rezeau. But elsewhere in Libya, Christians are not so untroubled. “In Cyrenaica, pressure has been exerted on Christians, notably the nuns who had to leave their congregation ... in the east of the country,” said Father Rezeau. He said Libya had as many as 100,000 Christians before the 2011 revolution that toppled Kadhafi. “Now only a few thousand remain.” The main Catholic Church’s clergyman in Libya told the Vatican missionary news agency Fides earlier this month that Christians are being driven out of eastern Libya by Muslim fundamentalists. The Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli, Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, said the situation in that region was “critical” and the “atmosphere very tense.” Two religious communities in the east of the country-the Congregation of the Holy

Family of Spoleto and the Franciscan Sisters of Child Jesus-were forced to leave “after being pressured by fundamentalists.” The Apostolic Vicar of Benghazi has been advised to take precautions ahead of a large-scale demonstration on February 20, Martinelli told Fides. Libya’s second city Benghazi was the cradle of the uprising against Kadhafi’s dictatorial regime that erupted in February 2011, and the eastern hub has since been at the forefront of Islamist-linked unrest. Several international agencies and diplomatic missions have come under attack, the deadliest being a September 11 assault on the US consulate in Benghazi that killed ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. But the Catholic church in Benghazi remains open, Martinelli said. Before the uprising, three percent of Libya’s population of around 6.3 million were Christian. Most of those who remain are expatriates, including Egyptian Copts who form the largest community. After mass at St Francis Church, the multinational congregation gathers to socialise while a group of Nigerians in traditional clothes set up a table to sell decorations made of wood. Antony Amstrong, a Ghanaian who has been teaching French in Libya for the past two decades, deplored the rampant “violence and security” since the anti-Gaddafi uprising. “All the sacrifice made by Libyans and the price they paid have not brought stability to this country,” Amstrong said. Ftsing Giscard, an electrician from Cameroon who has been living in Libya for three years, agreed. “Insecurity is a problem that affects everyone,” he said, stressing that Africans are most at risk because “Libyans accuse them of being mercenaries who fought alongside Kadhafi’s forces.” — AFP

Fuel, food draw Iraq and Syria Kurds closer FISHKHABOUR: Kurds on either side of the river Tigris that runs between Syria and Iraq are linked by kinship, a history of oppression and now by fuel lines and boats ferrying food and medical aid across the waters that divide them. The lifeline thrown by Iraqi Kurdistan to its neighbour extends the influence of Masoud Barzani, the autonomous region’s President, over Kurds in Syria as civil war threatens to dismember the country. For Syrian Kurds the conflict presents an opportunity to win the kind of rights enjoyed by their ethnic kin in Iraq, who live autonomously from Baghdad with their own administration, armed forces and an increasingly independent foreign policy. “Besides the humanitarian dimension there is a political dimension (to the aid) as well,” said historian Jordi Tejel Gorgas, an expert on Syrian Kurds based in Switzerland. “The KRG (Kurdistan regional government) and Barzani, as leader of a de facto Kurdish state, are showing they

are committed patriots.” It is not clear what exactly Barzani may hope to gain, but the aid consolidates his involvement with Kurds in Syria, to whom he has already provided political support in preparation for a future power transition. KRG spokesman Safeen Dizayee denied there was any ulterior or political motive to the aid, calling it an obligation. Kurdish areas in Syria’s northeastern corner have been spared the worst of the fighting between rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, but are nonetheless suffering from severe food and fuel shortages. On the Iraqi side of the river, white pick-up trucks reverse down to the water’s edge and men heave sack after sack of flour, tinned tomatoes and ghee into the hull of a motor boat waiting to speed over to Syria. The Kurdish flag flies overhead. “They are our brothers and a shared fate binds us together,” Barzani was quoted as saying in the bi-monthly newspaper of a Syrian Kurdish party close to his own. —Reuters

TUNIS: Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki’s secular party said yesterday that it would stay in the ruling coalition, but demanded the resignation of key Islamist ministers amid deepening political uncertainty. “We have decided to freeze our decision to withdraw our ministers from the government, but if in one week we don’t see any changes, we will quit the government,” said Mohamed Abbou, Congress for the Republic (CPR) party chief. The centre-left party is demanding the resignation of the justice and foreign ministers from Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali’s Islamist party Ennahda, amid soaring political tensions after the killing of a leftist opposition leader. “Two days ago we presented the resignation of our ministers, but we were contacted yesterday evening by the leaders of Ennahda, who replied favourably to all our demands,” Abbou told a news conference. He stressed that the CPR opposed the planned formation of a non-partisan government of technocrats, announced by Jebali in the wake of public outrage at the murder of Chokri Belaid, a leftist politician and fierce critic of the Islamists. The killing triggered three days of violent protests in which one policeman was killed and 59 others wounded, according to the interior ministry. “We are against a government of technocrats as it would allow for the return of figures from the former regime” of ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Abbou said. Ennahda, which heads the coalition government, has already rejected the plan, laying bare the divisions within his party, in which he is considered a moderate, and fuelling a political crisis. Hundreds of Tunisians yesterday protested outside the national assembly demanding the government’s resignation, among them Belaid’s wife Besma Khalfaoui. “This government must resign today, not tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. When a government fails, it must take responsibility,” she told AFP, while those around her shouted: “resign, resign,” and “the people want the regime to fall.” Jebali, who has set a target date of the middle of this week to form a transitional, non-partisan

TUNIS: A Tunisian woman shouts slogans in solidarity with Basma Khalfaoui Belaid, whose husband Chokri was assassinated earlier this month, during a demonstration in front of the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) yesterday. — AP government, stuck to his guns yesterday, saying he had “no other choice,” and renewing his threat to quit if he failed to do achieve his goal. “The situation is... urgent, there is a danger of violence. I am responsible for the government, I cannot wait,” the premier told French newspaper Le Monde. He said the new government’s priorities would include development, job creation and reducing high living costs, with anger over poor living standards continuing to drive social unrest in Tunisia two years after the revolution. Despite opposing Jebali’s plan, the CPR’s Abbou described it as “historic and positive, seeing how he went beyond his party,” but he insisted on the need to “respect the legality” of the elected government. In contrast, the third party in the coalition government, Ettakatol, threw its support behind the shake-up, with Finance Minister Elyes

Fakhfakh saying it was necessary to “ensure the best possible success of this initiative.” Ennahda hardliners are refusing to give up the key portfolios, and have warned that they will take to the streets of the capital, as they did in on Saturday, to insist on the party’s right to govern following its October 2011 election triumph. Since Wednesday, Tunisia has seen street clashes between police and opposition supporters and attacks on Ennahda offices, while Belaid’s funeral on Friday turned into a massive antiIslamist rally, believed to be the largest since the revolution. The killing has enflamed tensions between liberals and Islamists, simmering for months over the future direction of the once proudly secular Muslim nation, and stoked by a controversial pro-Ennahda militia blamed for attacks on secular opposition groups. — AFP

Brotherhood man spurned for role as Egypt’s top cleric CAIRO: Egypt’s leading religious scholars spurned the ruling Muslim Brotherhood’s choice and picked an apolitical Islamic law professor yesterday to be the country’s top cleric. The post of grand mufti of Egypt carries wide influence over legislation and social affairs. “Dr Shawki Ibrahim Abdel-Karim Allam, professor of Islamic law in Tanta University, got the highest number of votes and the matter has been sent to the president to issue his decision,” a statement from al-Azhar seat of learning said. President Mohamed Mursi, a Muslim Brotherhood member, is expected to formalise his appointment soon. The contender groomed by the Brotherhood, Abdul Rahman Al-Bar, 50, a 30-year veteran of the conservative Islamist group and member of its decision-making Supreme Guidance Council, was not even in the top three nominees, officials said. The grand mufti delivers televised sermons on major Muslim holidays and is empowered to issue opinions (fatwas) on any matter, influencing legislation on social and cultural issues, public behaviour and court rulings. Allam chairs the department of jurisprudence in the Sharia law faculty in Al-Azhar’s university in the northern Nile delta town of Tanta. The mufti’s office gave his age as 55. He will serve until the normal retirement age of 60. “This is big vote of trust in me and I hope to God that I will be up to the task,” Allam told Reuters. He declined to discuss his views until the president makes the appointment. A pan-

el of Islamic scholars took the decision after “detailed study of the applicants based on scientific legal standards, the adoption of AlAzhar’s moderate agenda and an estimation of their psychological and moral suitability”, the official statement said. Insiders said the Brotherhood had pushed for Bar despite warnings that his candidacy would be seen as part of a power grab to dominate all state institutions. “It seems some

council members were sensitive to the strong public resistance to Bar’s nomination, which led them to change their mind,” a senior official in the mufti’s office said. He said the new mufti had no political or sectarian religious affiliations. The selection was made amid antiMorsi public protests on the second anniversary of the resignation of veteran President Hosni Mubarak, ousted by a pro-democracy uprising. — Reuters

CAIRO: Egyptians play soccer in Tahrir Square prior to planned events to mark the second anniversary of former President Hosni Mubarak’s resignation yesterday. — AP



UN monitors see ammunition reaching Somalia from Yemen UNITED NATIONS: As the United States pushes for an end to the UN arms embargo on Somalia, UN monitors are reporting that Islamist militants in the Horn of Africa nation are receiving arms from distribution networks linked to Yemen and Iran, diplomats told Reuters. The UN Security Council’s sanctions monitoring team’s concerns about Iranian and Yemeni links to arms supplies for al Shabaab militants come as Yemen is asking Tehran to stop backing armed groups on Yemeni soil. Last month Yemeni coast guards and the US Navy seized a consignment of missiles and rockets the Sanaa government says were sent by Iran. According to the latest findings by the monitoring group, which tracks compliance with U.N. sanctions on Somalia and Eritrea, most weapons deliveries are coming into northern Somalia - that is, the autonomous Puntland and Somaliland regions after which they are moved farther south into Shabaab strongholds. The supply chains in Yemen are largely Somali networks in that country, council diplomats said on condition of anonymity. “In Galguduud (central Somalia), Shabaab received arms, including IED (improvised explosive device) components,” a Security Council diplomat said, referring to one of the Somalia/Eritrea Monitoring Group’s most recent confidential reports. Several other council diplomats confirmed his remarks. Other weapons supplied included PKM machine guns, said the group’s monthly report for January.

The monitors were scheduled to informally brief Security Council members on Friday but the meeting was canceled due to a major snowstorm, diplomats said. The UN monitors favor a gradual easing of the arms embargo rather lifting it as the Americans and the Somali government advocate, the diplomats said. Yemen is proving to be of central importance for arming Shabaab, the monitors’ reporting shows, both because it is feeding arms into northern Somalia and because it has become a playing field for Iranian interests in Somalia and elsewhere. The UN Security Council’s Panel of Experts on Iran, which monitors compliance with the Iran sanctions regime, including the arms embargo on Tehran, is also looking at Yemen and evidence of Iranian arms shipments across Africa, council diplomats told Reuters. Iran’s UN mission did not respond immediately to a request for comment. The monitors found Iranian and North Korean-manufactured weapons that came to Somalia via Libya at a base of the UNbacked African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia. Diplomats who follow the issue said the arms were apparently recovered by the peacekeepers and raised important questions. “Why are Iranian and North Korean small arms finding their way into Somalia from Libya? Do they date from before the arms embargoes (against both North Korea and Iran)? How did they get there from Libya?” a council diplomat asked. “It certainly emphasizes the point that Somalia is a country awash with arms and still

very fragile,” the diplomat said. Concerns about lifting arms embargo UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said the 15-nation council should consider lifting the arms embargo to help rebuild Somalia’s security forces and consolidate military gains against the al Qaedalinked Al-Shabaab militants. It is a position that has the strong backing of the United States, which is pushing for an end to the 21-year-old UN arms embargo. The Security Council imposed it in 1992 to cut the flow of arms to feuding warlords, who a year earlier had ousted dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and plunged Somalia into civil war. Diplomatic sources said Ban’s recommendation to support an end to the embargo did not appear in earlier drafts of his report but was added later on. It has happened before that a secretary-general’s reports on various issues have been amended before publication in response to complaints from member states. Diplomats said Britain, France and Argentina are the council members most reluctant to end the arms embargo, preferring a gradual easing of it instead. The Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group has also opposed the idea of lifting it and see their latest findings as proof of why that would be unwise, diplomats said. Those who oppose scrapping the arms embargo say Somalia’s security sector still includes elements close to warlords and militants, an allegation the Somali government rejects.

They also say the government can still get arms despite the embargo via requests to the UN sanctions committee. “There are no Somali warlords that threaten peace and stability in Somalia,” the alternate permanent representative for Somalia, Idd Beddel Mohamed, told Reuters. “They are normal citizens now, members of parliament. The embargo must be lifted.” But diplomats said the monitors have a different view - namely that specific units of the Somali security forces have links to warlords and are putting pressure on the Somali government to push for the arms embargo to be lifted. Those in favor of lifting the embargo want a monitoring mechanism to ensure that arms purchased by the government do not end up in the hands of insurgents. But they also feel that the government should have the means to continue improving security around the country as it appears to have Shabaab on the run. The US mission to the United Nations declined to comment on the monitors’ reporting because it is confidential. Last week a US official said Washington was merely backing a request by the Somali government and the African Union to end the arms embargo. The US government last month recognized the Somali government for the first time in more than two decades. UN discussions on the Somalia arms embargo are expected to continue through March, when the Security Council must pass a resolution to renew the mandate of the AU peacekeeping force. — Reuters

18 feared dead in Russian mine blast Ministry says methane caused blast

NEW YORK: The Power Rangers check out their 20th anniversary collectibles at the American International Toy Fair, Sunday, Feb 10, 2013, in New York. Saban Brands is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Power Rangers franchise at the show. — AP

MOSCOW: Sixteen miners were killed and another two were feared dead yesterday when a methane explosion tore through a coal mine in the remote Russian Far North within the Arctic Circle, the latest disaster to hit the country’s accident-prone mining industry. Two miners were still missing and feared dead after the explosion at the Vorkutinskaya mine controlled by Russian steel-making giant Severstal in the Komi region town of Vorkuta, the emergencies ministry said. One of the rescued miners was “in extremely grave” condition, health officials said separately. A total of 259 miners were working underground at the time, with 23 in the shaft where the explosion took place at the depth of 800 metres. Five of the group in the shaft were rescued-two received treatment at the scene and three were hospitalisedwith the rest either missing or dead. “Rescue workers found 16 corpses and the fate of two more people is unknown,” the emergencies ministry said in a statement, adding that the explo-

Sudan, Darfur rebels ink ceasefire in Qatar 1.4m live in camps across Darfur DOHA/KHARTOUM: The Sudanese government signed a Qatar-sponsored ceasefire with a splinter Darfur rebel group, Sudanese and Qatari state media said, in an attempt to revive a stalled peace process to end a decade-long conflict. The deal was signed by a group that calls itself the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) but which is a tiny off-shoot of the main rebel group of that name. News of Sunday’s agreement follows a recent upsurge in fighting in Darfur, a region the size of Spain

where rights groups and the United Nations say 300,000 people may have died since the conflict began in 2003. The government says the death toll is about 10,000. Qatar brokered a 2011 peace deal between Sudan and the small Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), and hopes the latest accord will inject new life into peace efforts. The 2011 deal promises development aid from donors including Qatar, which will host an April 7-8 donor conference, Qatari Deputy

Prime Minister Ahmed bin Abdullah al-Mahmoud told the official Qatar News Agency. Qatar hopes the forum will persuade more rebels to join the peace process and choke off support for groups who refuse to lay down their weapons. A surge in fighting between rebels and government soldiers, as well as between the region’s various tribes, has displaced more than 130,000 civilians since late December, according to the United Nations. More than 1.4 million people already live in camps across Darfur, according to the UN. Diplomats say Western donors will only contribute funds in Doha if security improves in Darfur and if Sudan fulfils its part of the 2011 deal such as co-funding an authority to run the region and disarming progovernment militias. The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and other senior Sudanese officials on charges of war crimes and genocide in Darfur - accusations the Sudan dismiss as politically motivated. Conflict also stalks Sudan’s border with South Sudan, the territory that seceded from the north under a 2011 peace deal that ended decades of civil war in the giant African state. The two neighbours came close to a return to full-scale war over territory and oil payments when border fighting escalated in April, but they agreed to defuse tensions in September. Yesterday, Sudan released five South Sudanese soldiers it captured last year along their disputed border, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said. Both sides have accused the other of holding an unspecified number of prisoners. — Reuters

sion was caused by methane. The interior ministry for the Komi region said 18 miners were dead but a Moscow-based spokeswoman for the emergencies ministry refused to confirm that figure before the two missing men are found. “We are still hoping,” spokeswoman Elena Smirnykh told AFP, although she admitted they might be dead. Two of the hospitalised men were in intensive care, one of them in “extremely grave” condition with multiple fractures, injuries and burns, the regional health ministry said, describing the condition of the second man as grave. The third miner suffered burns to his face. President Vladimir Putin ordered Emergency Situations Minister Vladimir Puchkov to personally go to the mine to oversee the rescue operation. “The head of state expressed deep condolences to the relatives and loved ones of the killed miners,” the Kremlin said in a statement. The families of the dead miners will receive two million rubles ($66,000) each, said emergencies ministry spokeswoman Smirnykh. A plane was

dispatched from Moscow to the mine to help with the rescue operation. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev tasked his deputy Arkady Dvorkovich with the responsibility to provide assistance to families of the dead miners. “An accident took place in Komi,” a grim-faced Medvedev said in televised remarks. “Put together the complete information and report on what is happening.” The Russian Investigative Committee has opened a criminal inquiry into a possible breach of safety rules at a mine. The mine in the northern city of Vorkuta is operated by Vorkutaugol, part of Severstal’s coal mining division whose mills it provides with hard coking coal concentrate. It has been working since 1973 with an output of 1.8 million tonnes of coal a year and its reserves of coal are estimated at 40 million tonnes. Vorkutaugol spokesman Yevgeny Sukharev said the company paid “unprecedented attention” to safety standards. “Everyone is in shock,” he told AFP. —AFP



Real or fake? It’s hard to tell anymore WASHINGTON: A Democratic president clashes with Republican leaders on Capitol Hill as a polarized nation debates taxes and guns, illegal immigration and gay rights, and, perpetually, the size of government. Question: Fictional Hollywood or real Washington? Answer: Both. For seven years, from 1999 to 2006, the NBC drama “The West Wing” showed America the inner workings of President Josiah Bartlet’s made-up White House. Re-watching its episodes today, it’s difficult to ignore the parallels between the fiction of then and the reality of today. Since the show ended, the line between the authentic and the packaged in Washington seems to have grown increasingly fuzzy, not just in our politics but now, also, in governing itself. The depiction of American politics has saturated our popular culture over the past two decades, from “Spin City” and “Dave” in the 1990s to “Veep” and “Lincoln” today. The images, dialogue, casting and storylines almost always play to stereotypes, implanting notions of the American system in the minds of viewers and shaping expectations of how politics and government should look. Our scripts, the storylines we expect, can confine us. But behind that notion is a deeper, more troubling question: Has the kind of politicking served up on the screen for so long become so ingrained that it is blowing back into the reality of governing? More important, are expectations set by Hollywood and reinforced by Washington out of step with what it will take to govern a changing country in challenging times? Are American leaders expending too much effort trying to be and do what’s expected for their audience - primarily core supporters and special interests rather than being and doing what is needed to

fix the nation’s problems? And are we, the public, equally responsible by punishing our leaders if they veer from the script? Political theater is hardly new. Leaders have always played hard for the public’s attention and support. And our 24/7 flow of instantaneous information, with the insatiable appetite for reality programming tacked on, is making things more intense. Almost daily, individual congressmen and senators march to the House and Senate floors to passionately support or oppose a certain piece of legislation, raising voices and pounding podiums as they preach - to mostly empty chambers, and C-SPAN viewers taken by the ruse TV has created. Also, Republicans and Democratic leaders hold frequent news conferences - again, much of it for show. Ronald Reagan, the actor-turned-politicianturned-president, used his Hollywood-honed communication skills to get the public on his, if not the Republican Party’s, side. Barack Obama, a skillful orator operating in a new-media world, frequently leverages the latest technology to curry favor with Americans in hopes of pressuring GOP leaders who control the House to see it his way on any number of issues. Rare is the politician who cannot, with the help of speechwriters, summon the narrative drama needed to get something done or play to an audience. Is it any wonder, then, why many Americans tell pollsters they have so little faith in their leaders and institutions? Or why they’re so turned off by Washington? Or why they seem to get caught up in the Hollywood-like romance of what it should be like rather than in the reality of what it needs to be? Exhibit A: the gun debate. Shortly after the Newtown, Conn, elementary school shootings, Obama put on his nation’s comforter hat and

quickly made a public show of tapping Vice President Joe Biden to come up with a White House proposal for addressing a recent spate of fatal mass shootings. The vice president predictably convened representatives from every group with a stake in the issue. And Democrats and Republicans - and their respective special interest allies - dug in. The left pushed limits on guns, the right resisted, and Washington insiders started murmuring about the unlikelihood that a comprehensive measure would ever reach Obama’s desk. Precisely as expected. Fiscal crises also have been going according to script. Ever y few months, the country faces a looming fiscal deadline - tax cuts are set to expire, or the nation’s debt limit needs to be raised, or automatic spending cuts are to take effect. Act 1 has both Democrats and Republicans calling for compromise and talking of grand bargains. Act 2 finds them digging in on their opposite ideological positions of taxes, spending and government’s size, beholden to their bases. Act 3 ends up being both sides leaving the negotiating table and posturing publicly for maximum exposure. Act 4, the finale, is a furious behind-the-scenes wrangling by a select few that results in a narrow-scope late-night deal reached just before the deadline passes. On gay rights, two moments - one fake, one real - are striking in their similarities. In “The West Wing” episode “20 Hours in L.A.,” which aired first in 2000, Bartlet is running for re-election when he dresses down a Hollywood producer demanding he publicly advocate for more gay rights. Bartlet thunders, “Right now, right this second, the worst thing that could possibly happen to gay rights in this country is for me to put that thing on the debating table, which hap-

pens the minute I open my mouth!” Fast forward to the real 2012. Obama was seeking a second term when he announced he supported gay marriage, bowing to pressure from gays - including many in Hollywood - and disclosing his stance far earlier than planned after Biden pre-empted him. Obama said then: “I didn’t want to nationalize the issue. There’s a tendency when I weigh in to think suddenly it becomes political and it becomes polarized.” In “Shutdown” - a 2003 episode of the show created by unabashed liberal Aaron Sorkin Bar tlet refuses to compromise with the Republican House speaker over budget cuts the GOP is demanding as a fiscal crisis looms, and declares, “I am the president of the United States, and I will leave the government shut down until we come to an equitable agreement.” Will we hear similar from Obama next month if - as expected - House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, demands significant spending cuts as a part of legislation to fund federal agencies beyond March 27 and avert a government shutdown? Maybe so. These days, a level of governing uninfluenced by stereotypes sounds as refreshing as it does impossible. That is, unless our leaders start putting what’s right for the country over what’s expected by their most vocal backers, and unless we, the general public, stop holding them hostage with fantastical notions of how they should behave. We’re talking about a fundamental shift. And that won’t happen overnight. But the potential payoff is huge. If the pressure to adhere to the script ebbs, that clears the way for more real problem-solving. Not to mention the ability to look at shows like “The West Wing” and say, with confidence: This is entertaining, but it’s nothing like the real thing. — AP

Houses wrecked in Mississippi tornado No fatalities reported

SANTA ROSA: Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa delivers a speech during a rally of his reelection campaigning in Santa Rosa, Ecuador. — AFP

Correa: From boyhood leader to firebrand prez QUITO: Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa held his first Cabinet meetings more than 35 years before he was elected. As an 8-year-old boy in the bustling port city of Guayaquil, according to his brother, he would play head of state with his friends who gathered around him to serve as ersatz ministers taking his orders. The innate charisma that he showed as a schoolboy has helped make Correa one of the Andean nation’s most popular presidents, celebrated as a champion of the poor by supporters from windswept highlands to sweltering Amazon jungle. Yet critics might see in those childhood games the authoritarian traits of a leader they now accuse of hoarding power: he somehow always managed to be the chief. “I used to say to his friends, ‘when you play cops and robbers, sometimes you’re the cop and sometimes you’re the robber,’” said Correa’s brother, Fabricio, once a close ally who is now a fierce critic after a theatrical falling out. “‘But you guys are always the stooges and he’s always the president,’” he said in an interview. Despite polarized views on Correa, opinion polls show the country of 15 million people is almost certain to hand him a new term in a presidential election Sunday. That would allow him to continue his “Citizens’ Revolution” that vows to fight grinding poverty and expand the reach of the state. A savvy political operator, the 49-year-old Correa has built up solid support by boosting state spending on health and education. His aggressive anti-American rhetoric and showdowns with Wall Street investors and oil companies have helped him build the image of a populist crusader battling elites in the name of the poor. To detractors, however, Correa is a dangerous and impulsive authoritarian who brooks no dissent and persecutes adversaries while squashing free speech and free enterprise alike. They say his political success has come from a vast expansion of presidential powers and indiscriminate use of government coffers swollen by rising global crude prices, higher taxes, and financing agreements with China. A victory on Feb. 17 would give him another four years in office, extending his tenure to a decade, a remarkable feat in a country where military coups and violent protests had turned the presidency into more of a revolving door than a stable institution. It could also give Correa a bigger leadership role in a coalition of left-wing leaders in Latin America as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, for years the region’s agent provocateur, struggles with life-threatening cancer. Though Correa has said he is not interested in replacing Chavez, he is likely to continue replicating the Venezuelan’s ferocious verbal bashing of the U.S. “empire.” He has canceled US anti-narcotics flights from Ecuador, and in 2011 he expelled the American ambassador. Last year, he set his government on a new collision course with Western powers when he allowed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to take refuge at Ecuador’s embassy in London, saying he

feared Washington wanted to persecute the ex-computer hacker for leaking thousands of secret U.S. cables. Hero for the poor Driving Correa’s diatribes about corrupt media and immoral bankers is a profound anger over poverty, which he witnessed up close in 1987 while volunteering with a Roman Catholic organization in the remote Andean village of Zumbahua. He spent a year living in a tiny room in a dilapidated building, playing guitar and sharing meals with the local Kichwa indigenous people while learning their language. The malnutrition and lack of basic health care he saw in Zumbahua was a stark contrast to his own lower middle class upbringing. “The time he spent here left a mark on him. He saw that these people were trapped in poverty. He would go around saying things were going to be different when he became president,” said Pio Baschirotto, a 71-year-old priest who works in Zumbahua and is friends with the president. Correa went on to study economics in Belgium, where he met his future wife, and in 2001 completed a doctoral thesis at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that argued against the free-market reforms that swept Latin America in the 1990s. The father of three won the presidency in late 2006 on promises to tackle poverty by boosting the state’s share of the OPEC nation’s oil industry proceeds and hiking government spending on social welfare. Since then he has doubled spending on education, linked remote villages to big cities by turning muddy dirt paths into proper roads, and expanded access to health care by building 20 new hospitals and revamping some 500 clinics. “We’ve done a lot. ... Our roads are envied throughout the Americas, ports, airports, hydroelectric dams. For sure, things have changed,” Correa said when he kicked off his re-election bid in November in front of thousands of supporters. “But there’s a long way to go and that’s why we’re here.” An avid cyclist, the usually tanned Correa is an effective campaigner while visiting poor rural areas, or dancing at local festivals. Polls before the election show him taking between 50 and 60 percent of the vote. That is at least 30 percentage points ahead of his closest rival, banker Guillermo Lasso, who is one of seven candidates fielded by the fractured opposition. Tailor-made state Supporters say Correa’s charm and heavy state spending have helped him put an end to the political turmoil that ousted three predecessors in the decade before he took office. But critics say the key to Correa’s longevity is that his allies drafted a new constitution in 2008 that expanded the reach of the presidency, made it easier for him to put allies in key posts and has allowed him to run for two consecutive terms.—Reuters

HATTIESBURG: Residents shaken by a tornado that mangled homes in Mississippi were waking up yesterday to a day of removing trees, patching roofs and giving thanks for their survival. More than a dozen in the state were injured. Daylight also offered emergency management officials the chance to get a better handle on the damage that stretched across several counties. Gov Phil Bryant planned to visit hard-hit Hattiesburg, where a twister moved along one of the city’s main streets and damaged buildings at the governor’s alma mater, the University of Southern Mississippi. Emergency officials said late Sunday that at least 10 people were injured in surrounding Forrest County and three were hurt to the west in Marion County, but they weren’t aware of any deaths. Among those who felt lucky to be alive was 49year-old Margie Murchison, who was visiting with a friend when her husband started screaming for them to take shelter from the approaching storm in a nearby culvert. They sprinted out of the house as debris flew around them and made it to the conduit that runs under the road. A tree crashed behind them as they made it to their hiding place. “For a minute there, that wind was so strong I couldn’t breathe,” Murchison said. Said Murchison’s friend, 55-year-old Wayne Cassell: “If we had wasted any seconds, we wouldn’t have made it.” After the storm passed, there were trees down all around the Murchison home. She said there was part of the roof damaged and leaking. Windows were broken out and the detached garage was leaning. Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Greg Flynn said it appears a single tornado caused the damage in Forrest, Marion and Lamar counties. Hundreds of homes are damaged in Forrest County, along with a couple dozen in the other two. Flynn said the sheer scope of the damage was slowing officials’ assessment. “The problem is, it was so strong that there’s so much debris that there’s a lot of areas they haven’t been able to get to yet,” he said. On campus, trees were snapped in half around the heavily damaged Alumni House where part of the roof was ripped away. Windows in a nearby building were blown out, and heavy equipment worked to clear streets nearby in a heavy rain after the worst of the weather had passed. The university released a statement saying no one was hurt but that it was under a state of emergency, and anyone away from campus should

MISSISSIPPI: Hardy Street in front of the University of Southern Mississippi campus is obstructed by debris blown by an apparent tornado. — AP stay away until further notice. East of campus, 47year-old Cindy Bullock was at home with her husband and dog, a terrier mix named Vinnie, when she heard the tornado coming. They ran to a hallway and covered their heads. It wasn’t long before the windows in the kitchen and bedroom exploded. The storm stripped all the shingles off the roof and left holes in it, while knocking over a large pine tree in the yard. After dark, the Bullocks were trying to arrange their stuff inside so it wouldn’t get wet from the dripping water. “I just looked out the window and I heard the rumbling. It sounded like a train. We ran to the hall, and the kitchen windows and the windows in the bedroom exploded. It happened pretty fast,” she said. There were large trees blocking the road all through her neighborhood, and several of the houses were hit by falling trees. Her friend was staying with them after the friend’s apartment took a direct hit from a falling tree. Forrest County Sheriff Billy McGee says 10 or 15 people were injured by the tornado that slammed Hattiesburg and other parts of the county - but none of the injuries was serious. “Most of our injuries have been walking wounded,” he said. To

the west, Marion County emergency director Aaron Greer said three injuries had been reported in the community of Pickwick, about seven miles south of Columbia. Two people were taken to hospitals, but the third didn’t have the injury examined, he said. Greer said one mobile home was destroyed, three other structures have major damage and several have minor damage. On Sunday night, John and Katherine Adams were cleaning up around their one-story white house where the storm punched holes in the roof, busted windows and completely destroyed the back porch. The couple was at home with their 7- and 3year-old daughters when the tornado passed next to their house. All through the neighborhood, houses and vehicles were damaged by falling trees. “We’re safe, and that’s all that matters,” said Katherine Adams, 46. John Adams, who’s in the building supply business, said he was surprised to see broken boards that appeared to be from new construction in his yard because there are no homes being built nearby. “We’ve got stuff around here; I don’t even know where it came from,” he said. — AP

After speech, supporters to promote Obama agenda WASHINGTON: The White House and outside supporters of President Barack Obama are launching simultaneous social media, public outreach and fundraising campaigns tied to Today’s State of the Union address. The efforts will concentrate on key issues Obama will raise in his prime-time address to a joint session of Congress: jobs and the budget, gun control, immigration and climate change. The wide-ranging outreach reflects a decision by the president and his advisers to focus more on using public support to pressure Congress rather than getting bogged down in partisan fights with lawmakers.It’s unclear whether the tactics - many of which were successful in helping Obama win two presidential elections - will be effective in pushing the president’s second-term agenda. Many of the proposals he will press for Tuesday night, including using increased revenue to bring down the deficit and banning military-style assault weapons, face strong opposition from congressional Republicans, as well as some Democrats. The White House will focus on using social media to engage the public on the proposals Obama will outline during the annual State of the Union address. Officials invited 100 people who follow the administration on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to watch the speech from the White House and then

WASHINGTON: In this file photo President Barack Obama reaches out to shake hands after giving his State of the Union address on Capitol Hill. — AP participate in an online panel when Obama wraps up. The White House will also stream an enhanced version of the address online that will incorporate graphics and data to complement Obama’s rhetoric. Senior administration advisers on the economy, climate change and other issues will also answer questions online following the speech and throughout the week. Immediately following Tuesday’s address, Obama will hold a conference call with supporters

attending State of the Union watch parties hosted by Organizing for Action, an outside group backing the president. The president will personally join the social media effort Thursday during an online discussion on Google, known as a “hangout.” Organizing for Action is an offshoot of Obama’s presidential campaign and is run by several of his former campaign advisers. The newly formed organization, which has access to the Obama campaign’s coveted donor and voter database, is using the State of the Union as a fundraising opportunity and will send out its first email to supporters asking for money following the address. OFA officials outlined their State of the Union plans during a conference call with former staffers and volunteers Sunday night. They said they would be particularly focused in the coming weeks on building support for the president’s proposals for reducing gun violence and averting automatic spending cuts, known as the sequester. OFA officials are planning two “national days of action,” one focused on gun violence on Feb. 22 and another centered on the budget in early March. Jon Carson, the group’s executive director, told supporters that Obama would also issue a “call to action on climate change” during the State of the Union, though he offered no specific details on what that would entail. —AP



37 dead in stampede at India’s Kumbh festival Kumbh Mela chief quits over stampede tragedy

SRINAGAR: Demonstrating pro-independence Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) activists shout slogans as they defy a curfew yesterday. — AFP

Boy’s fatal shooting fuels ire in Kashmir SRINAGAR: The fatal shooting of a young boy by security forces heightened anger in Indian-administered Kashmir yesterday as a curfew ordered after the execution of a separatist paralysed business. Ubaid Mushtaq, who doctors say was 12- or 13years-old, died in hospital in the early hours after being shot at a protest over the hanging of a Kashmiri separatist convicted of helping to plot a deadly attack on the Indian parliament in 2001. Meanwhile it emerged the family of Mohammed Afzal Guru, the Kashmiri who was executed on Saturday at a jail in New Delhi, only received a letter notifying them of his hanging on Monday morning. The handling of Guru’s execution has already been heavily criticised by Kashmir’s Chief Minister Omar Abdullah who warned it could exacerbate the sense of frustration and alienation in what is India’s only Muslim-majority state. A police source said around 3,500 people had attended Ubaid’s funeral in his home village of Watergam which is situated next to Guru’s hometown Sopore. A senior police officer, who was not authorised to speak to the press, said an inquiry had been launched but that initial reports suggested Ubaid died from firing by a paramilitary force which is under the control of the federal interior ministry. Another police official who spoke on condition of anonymity said a second body had been recovered from the Jhelum river, believed to have drowned on Sunday after protesters were chased by a contingent of the paramilitary force. A body of a protester was recovered from the same river on Sunday after he jumped in the water in a bid to escape government forces in the Sambal area. While the ruling Congress party has said the execution of Guru shows it is “tough on terrorism”, local officials have distanced themselves from the decision. Omar told the CNN-IBN channel that Afzal’s hanging “didn’t come as a complete surprise to us”, coming less than three months after India carried its first execution in nearly a decade. But he added: “We would have preferred if he wasn’t hanged.” Security forces have imposed a curfew in much of Indian Kashmir since Saturday while witnesses said police numbers had been further increased to head off possible protests on the 29th anniversary of the execution of a

separatist leader. The February 11 anniversary of the death of Maqbool Bhat, a founder of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), is usually marked by large rallies and separatist groups had already called for a general strike on Monday before the curfew order. Despite the clampdown, residents said around 20 JKLF activists came out on to the streets near Srinagar city centre before being chased away by riot police. They were carrying posters of Maqbool Bhat and shouted slogans for Azadi (Freedom from Indian Rule) and demanded the return of Bhat’s remains. He was hanged and buried at Tihar Jail-the same prison where Guru was executed. But the roads were largely deserted while shops, banks, schools and government offices were all closed. Some of the few people authorised to leave curfewbound areas were tourists who headed to the airport after being confined to their hotels over the weekend. Guru’s execution has also sparked protests in the section of Kashmir on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control, a de facto border. At a third day of demonstrations in Pakistan-held Kashmir yesterday, activists burnt an effigy of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and handed over a written protest to the local UN office condemning the “illegal” execution of innocent Kashmiris in Indian courts. Around 1,500 activists from jihadi groups and political parties, including the main ruling Pakistan People’s Party took part in the demonstration, police said. Hundreds of protesters had similarly gathered on Saturday, and on Sunday around 400 people held special “funeral” prayers for Guru in Muzaffarabad, the main city in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. A spokesman for Pakistan’s foreign ministry voiced concern at the response of the Indian government to protests over Guru’s execution. “We... express our serious concern on the high handed measures taken by India in the wake of Afzal Guru’s execution to suppress the aspirations of Kashmiris by arrests and detention of Hurriyat (freedom) leaders, curfew, news blackout and other coercive means,” he said in a statement. India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over Kashmir. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri makes victory sign as he leaves the Supreme Court after a case hearing yesterday. — AP

ALLAHABAD: A terrifying stampede at a railway station left at least 37 people dead after the main day of India’s Kumbh Mela religious festival, which drew record crowds of 30 million, officials said yesterday. The chief organiser of India’s massive Kumbh Mela festival quit yesterday over the tragic event . “I have resigned as the chairman of the festival committee,” said Mohammad Azam Khan, who is also a cabinet minister in the state. “Although the stampede happened beyond the scope of my jurisdiction, I am deeply disturbed and step down on moral grounds,” he told AFP. Dozens more were injured in the crush on Sunday evening at Allahabad, marking a tragic end to the most auspicious day of the 55-day Hindu festival in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, the world’s largest gathering of humanity. Local officials said the railings on a bridge at the station had given way under the pressure of the mass of people, while witnesses said that police had baton-charged the crowd, triggering panic. Injured people were stretchered away on ambulances from Allahabad station, but relatives said emergency services took hours to reach the scene. At least 10 corpses wrapped in white sheets could be seen on a platform several hours later. Among the victims was an eightyear-old girl called Muskaan whose distraught parents said she had died while waiting for help for nearly two hours. “Our daughter still had a pulse. Had the doctors reached in time she would have been saved, but she died before our eyes,” Bedi Lal, the child’s father, told the NDT V news channel. Amit Malviya, a spokesman for the northern and central railway, told AFP yesterday that 20 bodies had been identified and authorities were waiting for relatives to come forward to claim another 16. Apart from Muskaan, the victims included 26 women and nine men. The oldest was a 75-yearold man, Malviya said. Hindus believe a dip in the sacred waters of the river Ganges cleanses them of their sins. This year’s Mela is enormous even by previous standards, with astrologers saying a planetary alignment seen once every 147 years made it particularly auspicious. Police had been stretched in controlling the vast crowds as they reached their peak on Sunday, with officials saying the numbers had passed the

30 million mark by the evening. After the stampede, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh issued a statement saying he was “deeply shocked” while the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Akhilesh Yadav ordered an inquiry. A spokesman for the state government said the crush began after joints broke on railings attached to the bridge. “People were taking a rest on these railings and the railings could not take the load,” Ashok Sharma, told AFP.

pen.” The Kumbh Mela, which began last month and ends in March, takes place every 12 years in Allahabad while smaller events are held every three years in other locations around India. In 2003, 45 people died in a stampede during the festival in the western Indian town of Nasik. Crushes are a constant menace at religious events in India, where policing and crowd control are often inadequate. The worst recent incident was in October 2008 when around 220

ALLAHABAD: An Indian man whose two relatives died in a stampede at a railway station cries and comforts other relative as they arrive to take the bodies from a morgue yesterday. — AP But Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, who headed to Allahabad after the accident, attributed the crush to sheer weight of number. “No footover bridge collapsed, no railings collapsed,” Bansal told reporters. “We had provided for colour-coded enclosures to help people travelling in different directions. “We got to know that there was huge crowd and those (enclosures) were broken down. Many thousands of people climbed the footover bridge. And as you know the consequences when stampedes hap-

US starts using Pakistan route for Afghan pullout ISLAMABAD: The US has started using the land route through Pakistan to pull American military equipment out of Afghanistan as it draws down its troops in the country, US and Pakistani officials said yesterday. The US moved 50 shipping containers into Pakistan over the weekend, said Marcus Spade, a spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan. The containers were the first convoys to cross into Pakistan as part of the Afghan pullout, he said. Pakistan will be a key route for the US to withdraw tens of thousands of containers of equipment out of landlocked Afghanistan as it pulls most of its combat troops out by the end of 2014. Pakistan closed the route for nearly seven months after US airstrikes killed 24 Pakistani troops at a post along the Afghan border in November 2011. Islamabad reopened the route in July 2012 after Washington apologized for the deaths. During the closure of the Pakistan route, the US had to use a longer, more costly path that runs north out of Afghanistan through Central Asia and Russia. The US has also used that route to withdraw equipment. It’s unclear what took the US so long to begin withdrawing equipment through the Pakistan route, which runs south out of Afghanistan to the Pakistani port city of Karachi. Supplies have been flowing into Afghanistan since the route reopened in July 2012. Twenty-five containers that originated from a base in the southern Afghan district of Kandahar entered Pakistan through the border crossing at Chaman in southwestern Baluchistan province on Saturday, said Ata Mohammed, a shipping official. Another 25 containers entered Pakistan on Sunday through the other major Afghan border crossing at Torkham in the northwestern Khyber tribal area, said Mohammed Yousuf, a local political official. The US still has about 66,000 troops in Afghanistan, down from a high of over 100,000. As it pulls out of the country, the US will have to move an estimated 50,000 vehicles, as well as about 100,000 metal containers each about 20 feet long. — AP

people died near a temple inside a famous fort in the northern city of Jodhpur. At the Kumbh Mela on Sunday, 30,000 volunteers and 7,000 police were on duty, urging pilgrims to take one short bath and then leave the waters to make space for the flow of humanity that stretched for kilometres (miles). The event has its origins in Hindu mythology, which describes how a few drops of the nectar of immortality fell on the four places that host the festival-Allahabad, Nasik, Ujjain and Haridwar. — AFP

Afghan govt: Prisoner abuse not systematic KABUL: An Afghan government panel acknowledged yesterday that detainees face widespread torture but denied there is systematic abuse in government-run prisons. The panel’s findings were the result of a two-week fact-finding mission following a UN report last month that said Afghan authorities are still torturing prisoners despite promises of reforms. The country’s intelligence service earlier had denied any torture in its detention facilities. The complaints have prompted NATO to stop many transfers of detainees to the Afghans as concerns about torture raise questions about the government’s commitment to human rights. The UN report said more than half of the 635 detainees interviewed had been tortured - about the same ratio found in its first report in 2011. It cited brutal tactics including hanging detainees from the ceiling by their wrists, beating them with cables and administering electric shocks. Many rights activists have expressed concern that such abuses could become more common as international forces draw down and the country’s Western allies become less watchful over a government that so far has taken few concrete actions to reform the system. The Afghan panel also denied the allegation in the UN report that the government appeared to be trying to hide the mistreatment by hiding detainees in secret locations during inspections by international observers. Commission head Abdul Qadir Adalatkhwa told reporters that torture and beatings occur in the first stages of the arrest “but not while they are in prison.” The delegation visited both male and female prisons as well as juvenile detention facilities. Adalatkhwa said 148 of 284 prisoners

interviewed in the provinces of Kabul, Kandahar and Herat complained of torture and misbehavior at the time of their arrest and during the interrogation period. Of those 136 cases were confirmed, he said. The panel also interviewed 23 female detainees and found no confirmed allegations of rape and abuses. He also said more than 66 percent of those interviewed also had no access to defense lawyers. The government-appointed commission plans to discuss the findings during a meeting with judicial officials and President Hamid Karzai later this week at the presidential palace, Adalatkhwa said. “There is no systematic torture in Afghan detention centers,” he said. In a letter responding to the UN report, Gen John Allen, the then-commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, said his staff had written letters to Afghan ministers urging them to investigate more than 80 separate allegations of detainee abuse during the past 18 months. “To date, Afghan officials have acted in only one instance,” Allen said in the letter. In that case Afghan authorities did not fire the official in question, but transferred him from Kandahar province to Sar-e-Pul in the north. The letter said the NATO military alliance had responded to the UN report by stopping transfers of detainees to seven facilities in Kabul, Laghman, Herat, Khost and Kunduz provinces - most of them the same facilities that were flagged a year ago. The transfers were halted in October, when the UN shared its preliminary findings with the military coalition. “We have only stopped transferring some detainees to certain Afghan facilities,” Jamie Graybeal, a spokesman for the international military alliance in Kabul. — AP



‘Fake prince’ fortune to be auctioned in Australia SYDNEY: A trove of luxury goods including a fake crown amassed by a health executive in Australia who claimed to be a Tahitian prince as he allegedly embezzled millions is to be sold off, officials said yesterday. New Zealand-born Hohepa Morehu-Barlow, also known as Joel Barlow, is due to appear in court next month over his alleged defrauding of up to Aus$16 million (US$16.5 million) from Queensland state’s health department where he worked as a top executive.

Posing as a Tahitian prince in social circles, Morehu-Barlow enjoyed a lavish lifestyle, with an exclusive waterfront apartment, several sports cars and an array of luxury goods, allegedly funded by his theft. Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said items from the former executive’s estate were to be auctioned next month in a bid to retrieve the millions he is accused of stealing. “The return of these funds... will go a long way in the provision of essential

frontline services,” said Springborg. Morehu-Barlow’s riverside apartment sold recently for Aus$5.65 million and some 1,000 items seized from the property under proceeds of crime legislation are to be raffled in Brisbane on March 10, according to the auctioneers. “ This estate comprises of almost 1,000 lots of the best of luxury goods, furniture, jewellery, electrical items, clothing and accessories, books, artwork, curios and lots more,” the cata-

logue says. Morehu-Barlow’s art holdings included works by Australians Brett Whiteley, John Olsen and Arthur Boyd, and he reportedly owned the largest Louis Vuitton accessories collection in the Southern Hemisphere, with hundreds of individual pieces. A fake crown, Hermes saddle, Aus$95,000 television, 19th century naval hat, grand piano, Aus$25,000 bottle of French cognac, replica robots, surfboard, golf clubs and huge range of

luxury clothing are reportedly among the items. Springborg said some Aus$11 million of the anticipated sales had already been committed to cancer, stroke, anti-smoking, vaccination and Aboriginal health initiatives. “We are repairing the damage to local health services caused by years of financial mismanagement and lax standards,” said Springborg. “People at the auction can join in and help us turn things around.” —AFP

No New Year celebrations for Tibetans in centre of unrest Self-immolations continue XIAHE: Tibetans in a northwest part of China which has been a focus of self-immolation protests against Chinese rule marked a lowkey lunar New Year yesterday, with many saying celebrations were inappropriate while the burnings continued. At least 20 people have set themselves on fire in the region

there would be no entertainment this year. “It really isn’t appropriate because of the self-immolations. So we’re not marking the new year,” said a Tibetan man who gave his name as Dorje. “In Tibet you don’t celebrate new year if you are in mourning.” Police have erected road blocks into the town, nestled

ing people it deems to have incited the burnings. The latest detentions have taken place in Gansu’s neighbouring province of Qinghai, where police last week detained 70 “criminal suspects”, 12 of whom were formally arrested, meaning they will be charged. The government has also seized televisions in Tibetan areas to pre-

NEW DELHI: Indian police officers detain a demonstrating Tibetan exile as he attempts to tear a Chinese flag outside the Chinese embassy during Losar, the Tibetan new year yesterday. —AFP around Xiahe in Gansu province over the last year, according to exiles and rights groups. Xiahe is home to a large ethnically Tibetan population and also to the monastery at Labrang, one of the most important centres for Tibetan Buddhism. The Tibetan lunar new year is supposed to be a time for celebration, but many Tibetans who spoke to Reuters in Xiahe said

in a scenic valley some four hours drive from the provincial capital Lanzhou, to keep outsiders from entering. Nearly 100 Tibetans have set themselves on fire to protest against Chinese rule since 2009, with most of them dying. In the past few months, the government has begun a new tactic to discourage the protests, detaining and jail-

vent people from watching “antiChina” programmes broadcast from abroad. At the same time, Beijing has stepped up propaganda efforts aimed at the outside world, heaping blame on exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and overseas Tibetan groups for fomenting the self-immolations. One monk at Labrang, who spoke on condition of anonymity,

scoffed when asked if he believed Tibetans were being encouraged or even deceived by the Dalai Lama. “They are doing it because this is our country here and we have no rights,” said the monk, who added he was related to one of the self-immolators. Beijing considers Nobel peace laureate the Dalai Lama, who fled from China in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule, a violent separatist. The Dalai Lama says he is merely seeking greater autonomy for his Himalayan homeland. He has said he is not encouraging the selfimmolations, but has called them “understandable”. “He is always in our hearts,” said another Labrang monk, flicking through a Chinese propaganda book with old pictures of the Dalai Lama before he fled into exile. China has defended its iron-fisted rule in Tibet, saying the remote region suffered from dire poverty, brutal exploitation and economic stagnation until 1950, when Communist troops “peacefully liberated” it. The Dalai Lama said last year he expected Communist Party chief Xi Jinping, who takes over as president from Hu Jintao in March, to embark upon political reform. But there has been no sign of an easing of control in Tibetan areas. Xi’s late father, Xi Zhongxun, a liberal-minded former vice premier, had a close bond with the Dalai Lama before the monk fled into exile. Tibetan areas in China have been largely closed to foreign reporters and put under heavy security, making an independent assessment of the situation there hard. Many of the monks said they were too scared to talk publicly about the Tibet issue. “I’m terrified. People have no idea how bad things are here,” said one monk. —Reuters

Australia royal radio hoaxer back on air SYDNEY: One of the Australian radio hosts at the centre of a royal hoax call controversy in which a nurse was found hanged returned to the air waves yesterday. Michael Christian, with Mel Greig, made the phone call to London’s King Edward VII Hospital in December pretending to be Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles inquiring about the health of Prince William’s pregnant wife Catherine. Christian resumed work with Austereo station Fox FM in Melbourne. “We are happy to have Michael back on air,” said Austereo chief Rhys Holleran. “We have always supported our talent returning to work when appropriate and today marks that occasion for MC. “We look forward to welcoming Mel Greig back when the time is right.” Earlier this month British prosecutors said the two Australian DJs would not face charges over the hoax call. Christian and Greig’s prank saw unsuspecting nurse Jacintha Saldanha put their call through to a nurse treating Catherine, resulting in details of her recovery from morning sickness being revealed on air. The hoax made global headlines and Indian-born Saldanha was found hanged three days later, triggering a major backlash against the radio network and the hosts. The Australian presenters’ show was axed after the death and the pair appeared tearfully on national television to describe their devastation that their hoax could have contributed to Saldanha’s death. “If we played any involvement in her death then we’re very sorry for that,” Christian said late last year. Greig has not yet returned to work. A British inquest found no suspicious circumstances over the death of Saldanha, a mother of two.—AFP

JAKARTA: Indonesian students from different universities march with a banner that reads “Hijab a fun way to heaven” at the central National Monument park yesterday. —AFP

Indonesia Islam leaders stir row over Chinese New Year JAKARTA: As Indonesia and other countries with Chinese diasporas welcome the Year of the Snake, some Islamic leaders have ignited a religious row by declaring the celebrations “haram” and off limits for Muslims. After decades of repression under the dictatorship of Suharto, who rose to power after a bloody purge of communists and Chinese in the late 1960s, ChineseIndonesians are now accepted in mainstream society of the largely Muslim nation. Lunar New Year is also now a public holiday in Indonesia, where it is known as “Imlek”. But a local leader of the country’s top Muslim clerical body has declared the celebration “haram” (forbidden), saying its rituals are tied up with Buddhist practices, particularly those that take place in temples. “We cannot separate religion from culture, so we’re being cautious,” Zainal Arifin, head of the Indonesian Ulema Council in the city of Solo, told AFP. “And if it’s part of a religious ritual, we must not celebrate it. It’s the same case with Christmas and other religious celebrations.” The hardline Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) said clerics would spread the message to Muslims through mosque loudspeakers, and warn ChineseIndonesians not to invite Muslims to celebrations. But ethnic Chinese leaders say such comments about a traditional festival are illogical and a sign of outdated thinking in some Islamic organisations. “Chinese New Year is not a religious celebration and it’s especially not a Buddhist celebration,” said Andrew Susanto, president of the ChineseIndonesian Youth Association. He said marking the Lunar New Year was no different to celebrating the new year in other cultures. “I don’t think that’s what most Indonesians think,” he said, adding the festivities have over time become an

Indonesian tradition. Despite the cleric’s comments, a Javanese-style Lunar New Year celebration was held in Solo last week, with thousands joining a procession akin to those commemorating Islamic holidays. Local monks released 888 songbirds and catfish-eight being a lucky Chinese number-and distributed cakes to the jovial crowd. Chinese -Indonesians make up around nine million of the nation’s 240 million people, most practising Christianity, Buddhism or Confucianism. Suharto, who ruled Indonesia with an iron fist for more than three decades until 1998, banned Chinese languages and symbols, and forced Chinese-Indonesians to change their names. His rule began after an anti-Communist purge in 1965-1966, in which at least 500,000 people considered communists or sympathisers-many Chinese-were killed and others tortured. Rights activists say two million perished. Abdurrahman Wahid, an Islamic religious leader and politician who became the first elected president after Suharto stepped down, lifted the ban on Chinese culture in 2000, allowing ethnic Chinese to once again openly celebrate Lunar New Year. In Glodok-Jakarta’s Chinatown which was reduced to rubble in the 1998 riots at the end of Suharto’s rule -two Muslim women wearing headscarves soaked up the atmosphere, as vendors sold traditional red money envelopes and cobra oil to mark the Year of the Snake. “I’m Muslim, so I don’t myself take part in celebrations,” said one of the women, Widi Astudi, 37, as she visited a Buddhist temple Friday. “But Indonesia is a tolerant country, and the Chinese here are Indonesians, so there’s no harm in visiting the temples and appreciating how they celebrate.” —AFP

Aquino visits rebel stronghold

BALI: In a file picture, Lindsay June Sandiford of Britain reacts inside a holding cell after her trial at a court in Denpasar on the Indonesian resort island of Bali. —AFP

Brit grandmother appeals Indonesia death sentence DENPASAR: A British grandmother sentenced to death by firing squad for trafficking drugs into Indonesia lodged an appeal to the High Court yesterday, her lawyer said. Lindsay Sandiford, 56, was sentenced to death on January 22 for smuggling nearly five kilos (11 pounds) of cocaine worth $2.4 million into the island of Bali in May, despite prosecutors recommending only a 15-year jail term. “We’ve made an appeal to the High Court, and we’ll wait for one month to 90 days for a response,” Sandiford’s lawyer Fadillah Agus told reporters outside Denpasar district court. He said the death sentence “was not fair” and “not proportional” because Sandiford had cooperated with police to net four others in the drug ring, including three Britons who received far lighter sentences for their roles. Sandiford appointed Agus as her lawyer last week after losing a High Court bid in London to make the British government pay for a lawyer to help her appeal, which the charity Reprieve estimated would cost 2,500 pounds ($4,000). Judges in London dismissed Sandiford’s bid, saying her case

had “no reasonable prospect of success”, drawing criticism from rights groups against capital punishment. Agus said Sandiford was “scared” of her fate, while the drug ring’s “real mastermind”, whom he did not identify, had received a lesser sentence. Julian Ponder received the harshest punishment of the other Britons arrested, sentenced to six years’ jail. Sandiford argued she was forced into transporting the 4.79 kilos of cocaine to protect her children, whose safety was at stake. But the Bali court rejected her claims, saying she had damaged the island’s reputation as a tourism destination. Sandiford can appeal to the Supreme Court if the High Court rejects her bid. After that, only the president can grant her a reprieve. If all avenues of appeal are explored, the entire process can take years. Two Australians from a group of heroin smugglers known as the Bali Nine have been on death row since 2006 and are now appealing for presidential clemency. Indonesia has not executed anyone since 2008 but has announced plans to resume executions this year. —AFP

SULTAN KUDARAT: Philippine President Benigno Aquino paid a historic visit yesterday to Muslim rebel territory in a bid to speed up efforts to end one of Asia’s longest and deadliest insurgencies. Four months after his government agreed on a roadmap with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front for a final peace deal by 2016, Aquino travelled to the insurgents’ stronghold in the far south as a confidencebuilding measure. “We have just three years and four months left. We have to speed up everything we are doing now to make this (peace) permanent,” Aquino said on a stage alongside MILF chief Murad Ebrahim just outside the rebels’ main base. The deadline for peace coincides with the end of Aquino’s six-year term as president. The constitution limits him to one term and there are concerns that the next president may not be able, or may not want, to pursue the peace agenda. The 12,000-strong MILF has been fighting since the 1970s for independence in Mindanao, the southern third of the mainly Catholic Philippines that the country’s Muslim minority claim as their ancestral homeland. An estimated 150,000 people have died in the conflict with Muslim rebels, although a ceasefire in place since 2003 has largely held. In the “framework agreement” signed last October, the MILF said it would give up its quest for independence in exchange for significant power and wealth-sharing in a new autonomous region covering large parts of Mindanao. Many of the toughest details have yet to be agreed, and there have been no major breakthroughs in ensuing negotiations between the two sides. However Aquino expressed confidence that the

negotiations would yield significant results within weeks, and that a final peace pact could be achieved by 2016. “We’re very close to agreements on all the points,” he said. The key event yesterday, held just outside the MILF’s heavily fortified Camp Darapanan, was the launch of joint development projects seen by both sides as crucial to the peace process. It was the first peace mission by a president to the MILF’s powerbase. Then-president Joseph Estrada travelled to the area in 2000 but only at a time of heavy fighting, shortly after government troops overran another base that was then the rebels’ main camp. Estrada infamously brought pork and beer to the Muslim areas so government troops could celebrate their victory. Speaking at yesterday’s event, Murad said Aquino’s trip was a highly symbolic and important boost to the peace process. “Truly we are humbled by this grand gesture of the president of personally launching several socio-economic projects... on this hallowed ground which has seen many of the battles we have fought,” he said. Murad emphasised the need to bring prosperity to Mindanao, a fertile and resource-rich region that remains one of the country’s poorest areas because of the conflict as well as corruption. “Development is so important... this goal must therefore be the single most important task of this partnership,” he said. The programmes launched yesterday involve education scholarships, expanded health networks and job creation projects. After the launch of the development projects, Aquino travelled to a military camp to watch a game of football between MILF fighters and government soldiers. —AFP



Pope Benedict to step down in... Continued from Page 1 Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours (1900 GMT), the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked,” he said. Tributes poured in for Benedict from around the world including his native Germany where Chancellor Angela Merkel said she had the “greatest respect” for his decision, and hailed him as “one of the most significant religious thinkers of our time”. French President Francois Hollande said the pope’s decision was “eminently respectable”. British Prime Minister David Cameron said the pope had worked “tirelessly” to boost ties with Britain. President Barack Obama offered appreciation and prayers on behalf of all Americans to the pontiff. “Michelle and I wish to extend our appreciation and prayers to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI,” Obama said in a written statement, saying he and his wife warmly remembered meeting the pope in 2009. Benedict, formerly Joseph Ratzinger, was the Catholic Church’s doctrinal enforcer for many years. He was elected in 2005 at a time when the Vatican was being rocked by multiple scandals over child abuse committed by priests. The guiding principle of his papacy has been to reinvigorate the Catholic faith, particularly among young people and in countries withing rising levels of secularism like Europe and North America. Benedict has championed Christianity’s European roots and showed

his conservatism by repeatedly stressing family values and fiercely opposing abortion, euthanasia and gay marriage. Pope Benedict, who has looked increasingly weary in recent months and often has to use a mobile platform to move around St Peter’s basilica during Church services, had hinted in a book of interviews in 2010 that he might resign if he felt he was no longer able to carry out his duties. The scandal over confidential memos leaked from the Vatican by the pope’s once loyal butler last year was a particularly hard blow for the pope. “The pope caught us a bit by surprise,” Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said at a hastily-arranged press conference. Lombardi stressed that the pope’s decision was his own and was “well thought out” and that “there is no illness that has contributed to it”. He said the pope had chosen a consistory to make his announcement because it would group cardinals together, adding that most of them had not been informed of the pope’s announcement beforehand. The only other pope to resign because he felt unable to fulfil his duties was Celestine V in 1294, a hermit who stepped down after just a few months in office saying he yearned for a simpler life and was not physically capable for the office. In 1415, Gregory XII resigned in a bid to end the “Western Schism”, when two rival claimants declared themselves pope in Pisa and Avignon and threatened to tear apart Roman Catholicism. Other popes have stepped down for a variety of reasons in the papacy’s mediaeval history. — AFP

BEIJING: A Chinese girl uses a cylinder while performing an acrobatic show at the Dongyue Temple fair during the second day of the Chinese New Year in Beijing yesterday. Thousands attended temple fairs across the city to celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Snake. —AP





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Status quo or radical change? By Ella Ide ho will be the next pope? Cardinals tasked with electing Benedict XVI’s successor after his resignation later this month must choose a leader capable of guiding the Church through a difficult period, marred by scandals, internal tensions and growing secularism. Benedict’s rule has been criticised as overly “eurocentric” in some quarters and Vatican watchers say the college of cardinals set to meet in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican for the secret vote may seize the moment to elect a Latin-American, African or Asiatic pope. Others say 85-year old Benedict - who is resigning for age reasons - may call on the cardinals to elect someone younger, who is less likely to suffer failing health early in his mandate. “His decision to step down will have a big influence on the choice of the future pope. The old must make way for the young. The Church needs it,” said Marco Politi, Vatican expert and author of a celebrated biography on Benedict. While bookmakers had given even odds on the choice of Joseph Ratzinger in April 2005, no-one had foreseen Karol Wojtyla’s surprise election in 1978. There are 118 cardinals who are under the age of 80 and therefore eligible to vote in Benedict’s successor. The red-robed cardinals, who usually meet between 15 and 20 days after the death of a pope, take an oath of secrecy when they enter - and are automatically excommunicated if they break that oath. Of those voting, 67 were selected to be cardinals by Benedict - known for his staunch conservatism - while the 51 others were picked by John Paul II, who was seen as even more conservative. Sixty-two of the cardinals are European, 28 of whom are Italian, while 19 come from South America, 14 from North America, 11 from Africa and 11 from Asia and one from Oceania. Among those tipped as possible candidates for St Peter’s chair are Canadian Marc Ouellet and the Archbishop of Milan, Angelo Scola, though some analysts have said they are likely to be considered as not charismatic enough to revive faith amid rising secularism. Previous hot tickets Peter Erdo, from Hungary, and the pope’s Austrian friend Christoph Schoenborn, have recently dropped in favour, while American Timothy Dolan is increasingly tipped for his mediatic skills - key in helping the Vatican overhaul its image in modern society following a damaging wave of clerical child abuse scandals. While a quarter of the cardinals who can elect a new pope are Italian, watchers say their chances of a win this time were scuppered by the leaks scandal which hit the Vatican last year, which was blamed by some on internal bickering between Italians jostling for power. Among the potential candidates for the first African pope are Peter Turkson of Ghana - the head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace who is considered a progressive candidate and Nigerian John Onaiyekan. William Hill bookmakers in London yesterday tipped 80-year-old Francis Arinze of Nigeria as their favourite to take over from Benedict, with odds of 21, followed by Turkson at 5-2. Frontrunners in Latin America - which boasts the largest number of practicing Catholics in the world - are Claudio Hummes and Joao Braz de Aviz. Progressives favour Hondurian Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, head of Caritas Internationalis, but he is considered by the Church’s more traditional members to lean too far left, and is unlikely to win the two-thirds majority needed. Among the outsiders to watch, experts note dynamic Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle - the Church’s second youngest cardinal, appointed just last year at 55 years old - is very popular in Asia and is rising fast within the Vatican. Vatican expert Sandro Magister said he did not hold out much hope of a vote for change, tipping Ouellet from Canada, Italy’s Scola or France’s Andre Vingt-trois as frontrunners, and “certainly not a younger candidate or a pope from the Southern hemisphere”. — AFP


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Pope’s mission clouded by scandal By Nicole Winfield and Philip Pullella enedict XVI always cast himself as the reluctant pope, a shy bookworm who preferred solitary walks in the Alps to the public glare and the majesty of Vatican pageantry. And yesterday, the Vatican announced that the leader of the world’s billion Roman Catholics was stepping down - the first pontiff to do so since 1415. The German theologian, whose mission was to reawaken Christianity in a secularized Europe, grew increasingly frail as he shouldered the monumental task of purging the Catholic world of a sex abuse scandal that festered under John Paul II and exploded during his reign into the church’s biggest crisis in decades, if not centuries. More recently, he bore the painful burden of betrayal by one of his closest aides: Benedict’s own butler was convicted by a Vatican court of stealing the pontiff’s personal papers and giving them to a journalist, one of the gravest breaches of papal security in modern times. All the while, Benedict pursued his singleminded vision to rekindle faith in a world which, he frequently lamented, seemed to think it could do without God. “In vast areas of the world today, there is a strange forgetfulness of God,” he told 1 million young people gathered on a vast field for his first foreign trip as pope, World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany in 2005. “It seems as if everything would be just the same even without Him.” With some decisive, often controversial moves, Benedict tried to remind Europe of its Christian heritage and set the Catholic Church on a conservative, tradition-minded path that often alienated progressives and thrilled conservatives. Yet his papacy will be forever intertwined with the sex abuse scandal. Over the course of just a few months in 2010, thousands of people in Europe, Australia, South America and beyond came forward with reports of priests who raped and molested them as children, and bishops who covered up the crimes. Documents revealed that the Vatican knew well of the problem yet turned a blind eye for decades, at times rebuffing bishops who tried to do the right thing. Benedict had firsthand knowledge of the scope of the problem since his old office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which he had headed since 1982, was responsible for dealing with abuse cases. He met with victims across the globe, wept with them and prayed with them. He promised that the church must “do everything possible” to ensure such crimes never happen again. The Vatican updated its legal code to extend the statute of limitations for cases and told bishops’ conferences around the world to come up with guidelines to prevent abuse. But Benedict never admitted any personal or Vatican failure. Much to the dismay of victims, he never took action against bishops who ignored or covered up the abuse of their priests or moved known pedophiles to new posts where they abused again. And hard as he tried to heal the church’s wounds, Benedict’s message was always clouded by his wooden personal style. No globe-trotting showman or media darling like John Paul, Benedict was a teacher and academic to the core: quiet and pensive with a fierce mind. He spoke in paragraphs, not soundbites. In recent years, his declining health made him seem increasingly fragile and disengaged in public. And he was notoriously prone to gaffes. Some of Benedict’s most lasting initiatives as pope - the actions he will be remembered for - focused on restoring traditional Catholic practice and worship to 21st century Catholicism. It was all in a bid to correct what he considered the erroneous interpretation of the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 meetings that brought the Catholic Church into the modern world. His conservative vision is a direction his successor will likely continue given that the bulk of the College of Cardinals - the princes of the church who will elect the next pope - was hand-picked by Benedict to guarantee his legacy and ensure an orthodox future for the church. Benedict relaxed restrictions on celebrating the old, preVatican II Latin Mass. He reached out to a group of traditionalist, schismatic Catholics in a bid to bring them back into Rome’s fold. And he issued an unprecedented invitation to traditionalist Anglicans upset over women priests and gay bishops to join the Roman Catholic Church. In doing so, he alienated many progressive Catholics who feared he was rolling back the clock on Vatican II. He also angered some Jews who equated the preVatican II church with the time when Jews were still considered ripe for conversion and were held responsible collectively for the death of Christ. Yet like John Paul, Benedict had made reaching out to Jews a hallmark of his papacy. His first official act as pope was a letter to Rome’s Jewish community and he became the second pope in history, after John Paul, to enter a synagogue. And in his 2011


book “Jesus of Nazareth” Benedict made a sweeping exoneration of the Jewish people for the death of Christ, explaining biblically and theologically why there was no basis in Scripture for the argument that the Jewish people as a whole were responsible for Jesus’ death. “It’s very clear Benedict is a true friend of the Jewish people,” said Rabbi David Rosen, who heads the interreligious relations office for the American Jewish Committee. During his trip to Poland, Benedict prayed at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp a visit heavy with significance for a German pope on Polish soil. “In a place like this, words fail; in the end, there can be only a dread silence, a silence which itself is a heartfelt cry to God: Why, Lord, did you remain silent?” he asked. His 2009 visit to Israel, however, drew a lukewarm response from officials at Jerusalem’s national Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial who found Benedict’s speech lacking. His call for a Palestinian state also put a damper on the visit. Jews were also incensed at Benedict’s constant promotion toward sainthood of Pope Pius XII, the World War II-era pope accused by some of having failed to sufficiently denounce the Holocaust. And they harshly criticized Benedict when he removed the excommunication of a traditionalist British bishop who had denied the Holocaust. Benedict’s relations with the Muslim world were also a mixed bag. He riled the Muslim world with a speech in Regensburg, Germany in Sept 2006, five years after the terror attacks in the United States, in which he quoted a Byzantine emperor who criticized some of the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). After protests that included attacks on churches in the Middle East and the killing of a nun in Somalia, the pope said he regretted any misunderstanding the speech caused. In a move that was widely seen as conciliatory, he made a historic trip to predominantly Muslim Turkey in 2006 and prayed in Istanbul’s Blue Mosque with the city’s grand mufti. But months later, former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami met the pope and said wounds between Christians and Muslims were still “very deep” as a result of the Regensburg speech. Much of the outrage that ensued from Benedict’s interfaith missteps was due to the Holy See’s communications problems: The Vatican under Benedict suffered notorious PR hiccups, constantly finding itself slow to react to news and then reacting with muddled messages that required two or three clarifications before getting it straight. Sometimes Benedict himself was to blame. In 2009, he enraged the United Nations and several European governments, when en route to Africa, he told reporters that the AIDS problem couldn’t be resolved by distributing condoms. “On the contrary, it increases the problem,” he said then. A year later, he issued a revision that seemed to placate liberals while maintaining church teaching opposing contraception: In a booklength interview, he said that if a male prostitute were to use a condom to avoid passing on HIV to his partner, he might be taking a first step toward a more responsible sexuality. It was a significant shift given the Vatican’s repeated position that abstinence and marital fidelity were the only sure ways to stop the virus. Benedict repeated that line and stressed that sex outside marriage was immoral, but his comments nevertheless marked the first time a pope had even acknowledged that condoms had a role to play in stopping HIV. When he was elected the 265th leader of the Church on April 19, 2005, Benedict, aged 78, was the oldest pope elected in 275 years and the first German one in nearly 1,000 years. As John Paul’s right-hand man, he had been a favorite going into the vote and was selected in the fastest conclave in a century: Just about 24 hours after the voting began, white smoke curled from the Sistine Chapel chimney at 5:50 pm to announce “Habemus Papam!” Though clearly intending to carry on John Paul’s legacy, Benedict didn’t try to emulate his predecessor’s popular acclaim. His foreign trips were short and focused. His Masses were solemn, his homilies dense and professorial. And he wasn’t afraid to challenge John Paul’s legacy when he believed his predecessor had erred. In one remarkable instance, he essentially took over the Legionaries of Christ, a conservative religious order held up as a model of orthodoxy by John Paul after it was revealed that its founder, the Rev Marciel Maciel, sexually abused seminarians and fathered at least three children. Under John Paul, who had been a fierce supporter of Maciel, the Vatican’s investigation into the Mexican priest had languished. But a year after Benedict became pope, Maciel was sentenced to a lifetime of penance and prayer, and in 2010 the order was essentially put under receivership by the Vatican because of a host of spiritual, financial and other problems. He wrote three encyclicals, “God is Love” in 2006, “Saved by Hope” in 2007 and “Charity in Truth” in 2009. The latter was perhaps his best known as it called for a new world financial order

guided by ethics that was published in the throes of the global financial meltdown. Benedict’s call, however, would strike some as hypocritical when a year later the Holy See’s top two banking officials were placed under investigation in a money laundering probe that resulted in the seizure of millions of euros from a Vatican Bank account. The money was later released after Benedict, the Vatican’s top legislator, amended the city state’s legal code to comply with international norms to fight money laundering and terror financing. The Vatican’s finances though also came under scrutiny when Benedict’s own butler, Paolo Gabriele, was arrested in May 2012 and charged with stealing the pope’s personal correspondence and leaking the documents to a journalist. Gabriele told Vatican investigators he did so because he thought the pope wasn’t being informed of the “evil and corruption” in the Vatican and thought that exposing it publicly would put the church back on the right track. Gabriele was eventually sentenced to 18 months in prison, though Benedict later pardoned him. As soon as he was elected, Benedict moved decisively on a few selected fronts: He made clear early on that he wanted to reestablish diplomatic relations with China that were severed in 1951. He wrote a landmark letter to the 12 million Chinese faithful in 2007, urging them to unite under Rome’s wing. But tensions with the state-backed church remained with several illicit ordinations of Chinese bishops without papal consent. Within his first year, Benedict also signed off on a long-awaited document barring most gays from the priesthood in a move that riled many in the American church. But in a document welcomed by liberal Catholics, he also essentially abolished “limbo”, saying there was hope to think that babies who died without being baptized would go to heaven. And in one of his most popular acts, he beatified his predecessor in record time, drawing 1.5 million people to Rome in 2011 to witness John Paul move a step closer to sainthood. Benedict made a successful trip to the United States in 2008. He apologised for the sexual abuse scandal, promised that paedophile priests would go, and comforted abuse victims. Benedict favored Masses heavy in Latin and the brocaded silk vestments of his predecessors. His fondness for Gregorian chant and Mozart - he was an accomplished classical pianist - found its way into papal Masses and concerts performed in his honor, some of the only times the workaholic Benedict was seen relaxing and enjoying himself. He had a weakness for orange Fanta as well as his beloved library; when he was elected pope, he had his entire study moved - as is - from his apartment just outside the Vatican walls into the Apostolic Palace. “In them are all my advisers,” he said of his books in the 2010 book-length interview “Light of the World”. “I know every nook and cranny, and everything has its history.” Years after he had left, colleagues from his days at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith spoke wistfully, even nostalgically of his tenure setting the course of Catholic doctrine and discipline and presiding over the creation of the monumental “Catechism of the Catholic Church” - a synthesis of key Catholic teaching. His presentations at monthly department meetings were “magisterial”, they said, worthy of the church’s permanent teachings. They said he fostered a “family” inside the hallowed yellow halls of the Holy Office, once known as the Inquisition. His real family consisted of his brother Georg, also a priest and a frequent summer visitor to Castel Gandolfo. His sister died years previous. His “papal family” consisted of Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, his longtime private secretary who was always by his side, another secretary and four consecrated women who tended to the papal apartment. They shared meals, celebrated daily Mass together and at the end of the day watched DVDs, especially of Benedict’s favorite show “Don Camillo and Peppone”, a black and white comedy from the 1950s about the pastor of a small Italian town and its Communist mayor. Benedict was born April 16, 1927 in Marktl Am Inn, in Bavaria, but his father, a policeman, moved frequently and the family left when he was 2. In his memoirs, Benedict dealt what could have been a source of controversy had it been kept secret - that he was enlisted in the Nazi youth movement against his will when he was 14 in 1941, when membership was compulsory. He said he was soon let out because of his studies for the priesthood. Two years later he was drafted into a Nazi anti-aircraft unit as a helper. He deserted the German army in April 1945, the waning days of the war. He called it prophetic that a German followed a Polish pope - with both men coming from such different sides of World War II. Benedict was ordained, along with his brother, in 1951. After spending several years teaching theology in Germany, he was appointed bishop of Munich in 1977 and elevated to cardinal three months later by Pope Paul VI. John Paul named him leader of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1981 and he took up his post a year later. Following John Paul’s death in 2005, he was elected pope by a conclave of cardinals. If there were any doubts about Benedict’s priority to reinvigorate Christianity in Europe, his choice of a papal name was as good as any indication. Benedict told cardinals soon after he was elected that he hoped to be a pope of peace, like Pope Benedict XV, who reigned during World War I. But the first Benedict - St Benedict of Norcia - was also an inspiration. The 5th and 6th century monk is a patron saint of Europe and inspired the creation of the Benedictine order, the main guardian of learning and literature in Western Europe during the dark centuries that followed the fall of the Roman Empire.—Agencies



Scotland keeper fears playing days are over

India’s tennis players form body to protect interests

LONDON: Former Scotland and Sunderland goalkeeper Craig Gordon, who has made one appearance in the last two years, fears he may never play again after an injury-plagued career pushed him into coaching. Gordon, who in 2007 was a nine-million pound ($14.25-million) purchase by Premier League club Sunderland, the highest transfer fee at the time paid by a British club for a goalkeeper, is now coaching at second-tier Scottish club Dumbarton. “It’s very unlikely I will be playing again this season. In fact I’m not sure if I’ll play again, so I’m looking to get into coaching as I want to remain in the game,” the 30-year-old said on Dumbarton’s website ( “I’m not ruling out playing again but I need to get things in place if the news is not good in that respect.” Gordon, who has 40 caps for Scotland, has suffered a variety of injuries throughout his career including breaking the same arm twice and damaging anterior cruciate ligaments. — Reuters

NEW DELHI: India’s top tennis stars joined hands yesterday to start a players’ association following the dispute with the national federation that made them skip their last Davis Cup tie. The body, named the Indian Tennis Players Association (ITPA), will have veteran Jaideep Mukherjee as its interim president and Mahesh Bhupathi, Somdev Devvarman and Rohan Bopanna among its founding members. “It will primarily function as a forum and platform to represent the professional interests of its members and, thereby, improve the standard of tennis in the country,” the ITPA said in a statement. Eleven players, excluding Leander Paes, had declined to play in the recent Asia-Oceania group one Davis Cup tie against South Korea in New Delhi following their tussle with the All India Tennis Association (AITA). India, with three debutants in the ranks, were thrashed 4-1 and must now defeat Indonesia in Bangalore from April 5 to 7 to avoid being relegated to group two. A temporary truce inked last week saw the rebels, that included Devvarman, Bhupathi and Bopanna, announce they will be available for the Indonesia tie. This followed an AITA letter to the players accepting some demands like a higher share of the prize money from Cup matches, business-class air travel for ties and the players’ involvement in the choice of venues.—AFP

FIFA sanctions players’ agent over Gomes transfer LONDON: Brazilian soccer agent Renato de Moura Ricardo has been fined 7,000 Swiss francs ($7,600) by FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee after being found guilty of violating the players’ agents regulations and the code of professional conduct. Renato has also been ordered to pay costs for the case which was referred by the FA to FIFA in June 2011 and relates to the transfer of goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes to Tottenham Hotspur from PSV Eindhoven in July 2008, soccer’s world governing body said in a statement on Monday. “In addition, Mr Renato de Moura Ricardo has been issued with a warning...and also informed that a further breach of the players’ agents regulations will result in more severe sanctions to be determined by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, which can lead to a suspension or even a withdrawal of the players’ agent licence,” the statement said.— Reuters

Arab associations participate in judges course for shotgun

United Ahli Bank defeat Boubyan Bank KUWAIT: United Ahli Bank defeated Boubyan Bank by the score of 8 - 0 and topped the Banks bowling tournament standings with 32 points, in the fifth week of the tournament organized by Kuwait Banks Club for banks’ employees. Kuwait Ahli Bank is in second place with 27, and

Kuwait Central Bank is third with 25 points. Burgan Bank defeated KFH 5/2 while National Bank defeated Commercial Bank with the score of 7/0. The women’s tournament will start Saturday 2/3/2013 at Kozmo Bowling Hall in Salmiya.

Vonn undergoes surgery on knee COLORADO: The surgeon who operated on Lindsey Vonn’s right knee was “optimistic for a full recovery” after she shredded two ligaments during a crash last week at the world championships. Dr. Bill Sterett, a physician for the US Ski Team, performed the procedure on the four-time overall World Cup champion on Sunday in Vail, Colorado. In a release issued by the ski team, Sterett said the surgery went well and that she was resting comfortably. “The overall success rate for ACL/MCL surgery is very good. Modern surgical techniques combined with aggressive rehabilitation will help Lindsey make a full recovery,” said Sterett, who is also a surgeon at Vail-Summit Orthopaedics. “She will do everything in her power to return as quickly as possible to competitive skiing.” Vonn tore her anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments last week during the super-G in Schladming, Austria. She also broke a bone in her lower leg. Sterett said it was too early to issue a specific prognosis and didn’t have a return date to skiing for Vonn. But other doctors believe she could be sidelined for up to eight months. That would give her time to get back to the slopes for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, which are a year away. Shortly after her accident, Vonn said she fully intended to be in the starting gate for Sochi to defend her Olympic downhill title from the 2010 Vancouver Games. The 28year-old Vonn was hurt last Tuesday when she was lifted into the air off a jump in the opening race at the championships. Upon landing, her right leg gave way and she spun down face first, throwing an arm out to protect herself.

Vonn ended up on her back as she smashed through a gate. She received medical treatment on the snow before being airlifted by helicopter to a hospital in Schladming. A few days, later she flew home to Vail. “We wish her the best,” teammate Leanne Smith said after Sunday’s downhill at worlds. “We know she’s going to persevere and come back strong.” Fans also held up signs wishing Vonn a fast recovery. This has been an injury- and illnessriddled season for Vonn. She took a monthlong break from the World Cup circuit to regain her strength after an intestinal illness that struck in November. When she returned, she looked like the Vonn of old as she steadily regained her form and won two races last month. Her win in the giant slalom in Maribor, Slovenia, on Jan. 26 was the 59th victory of her career. She’s three away from tying the women’s record held by Annemarie MoserProell of Austria. While her primary goal is to be ready for Sochi, Vonn ideally wants to be back for the World Cup speed races in Lake Louise, Alberta, in late November or early December. She’s been so successful there - winning 14 times that it’s become known as “Lake Lindsey.” Comebacks are hardly new for Vonn, who has been plagued by injuries at her last six major championships - from a thumb she sliced on a champagne bottle at the 2009 worlds in Val d’Isere, France, to a bruised shin that she treated with the unorthodox remedy of Austrian cheese at the Vancouver Olympics. AP Sports Writer Andrew Dampf in Schladming, Austria, contributed to this report. — AP

By Abdellatif Sharaa KUWAIT: Kuwait Shooting Sports Club, organized the ISSF “B” Judges course for shotgun under the patronage of the International Shooting Sport Federation at the Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Olympic Shooting Complex with the partic-

ipation of 31 judges from Bahrain, Tunis, UAE, Lebanon, in addition to Kuwait. This course is being held as HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad International Grand Prix approaches, and the new ISSF rules will apply. The course is being conducted by ISSF lecturer Pefros Kyritsis and will be conclud-

ed February 12. KSSC Secretary General Obaid Al-Osaimi welcomed participants on behalf of KSSC President Sheikh Salman Sabah Al-Salem AlHumoud Al-Sabah and Board members. He said this course and the one that proceeded it on air rifle and pistol are conducted in

coordination with ISSF and thanked them for it. Al-Osaimi wished participants the best of luck and urged them to benefit from it. He also expressed pleasure at the participation of several Arab associations in this course, hoping it will a quality technical move forward.

Baumann leads super-combi Ligety lurking in sixth SCHLADMING: Romed Baumann of Austria took the lead after the downhill leg of the super-combined at the Alpine skiing world championships yesterday, and American rival Ted Ligety was the best positioned of the technical specialists in sixth. Baumann, who has won two World Cup supercombined races, clocked 2 minutes, 1.38 seconds down the icy Planai course, which was harder than in Saturday’s traditional downhill after two more days of temperatures far below freezing. “I knew it was a giant run as soon as I crossed the finish line,” said Baumann, who didn’t qualify for the Saturday’s downhill squad. “I knew I can handle this course well but you just can’t tell what might have happened in the downhill race. ... Now I must hope the slalom specialists make some mistakes tonight.” Two-time defending champion Aksel Lund Svindal, the Norwegian who won Saturday’s downhill, was second, 0.14 behind. Christof Innerhofer of Italy, the defending silver medalist, was third, 0.38 behind. “It’s not very good, it’s OK,” Svindal said. “I’m in second place now but it’s the time difference that’s important. It’s a little too close with the slalom guys. But it’s not over until it’s over.” The slalom leg was scheduled for 6:15 p.m. (1715 GMT) under the lights. Ligety was 0.72 behind Baumann. Also, technical specialist Ivica Kostelic of Croatia was 10th, 1.37 behind, and Benjamin Raich of Austria was 12th, 1.52 behind. Kostelic and Raich, both former overall champions, share the record of World Cup wins in supercombi with five each. Alexis Pinturault of France, another pre-race favorite, was far back in 22nd, 3.35 behind. Ligety won the combined in the old format with two slalom runs at the 2006 Turin Olympics, but he’s never been on the podium in super-combined. While still known for his giant slalom ability, Ligety

has improved in the speed disciplines lately, as evidenced by his super-G victory to open the championships. Where downhill specialists struggled on the steep final pitch, Ligety excelled, throwing his skis into each turn and leaning down and touching the snow with his hip and hands as if skiing GS. “I felt like I skied pretty well. It’s not a hill that is easy but I charged the whole way and kept it clean,” Ligety said. “I’m really happy to be only seven-tenths back.” Ligety had a super-combi podium finish in sight in Wengen, Switzerland, last month until his right ski slipped free two-thirds down his slalom run. And in the traditional combined in Kitzbuehel a few weeks ago, he missed a gate early

in his first slalom run. “I’m definitely in a good position,” Ligety said. “I would like to have more time on Ivica and on Benni but I feel like I am in a place where I can easily take those downhill guys. Those slalom guys are close enough as well so it’s going to be a challenge.” Swiss racer Sandro Viletta narrowly avoided disaster when a course worker skied onto the piste during his run. Viletta managed to ski around the worker, who looked oblivious to what was going on until Viletta passed him at full speed. Viletta smiled when he watched the video in the finish area. Olympic champion Bode Miller is out for the season recovering from left knee surgery. — AP

SCHLADMING: US Ted Ligety completes the downhill event during the men’s super combined at the 2013 Ski World Championships in Schladming, Austria yesterday. — AFP

UIS champions of 9th Don Bosco Oratory Interschool Basketball Championship

(Left) Overall Championship Trophy given by James D’sa to the 6 team captains of UIS. (Right) IEAS boy’s U/16 team 3rd place KUWAIT: Schools qualified to the final rounds were: thank the IEAS school management for usual support already displayed leadership skills. While for some it was school win or lose we all walked with our head up high. United Indian School (UIS), Fahaheel Wataniya Indian and approvals to conduct the tournament at their prem- hard team work and while for some it was just one man A not of thanks to the Don Bosco Oratory members for School (DPS), Carmel School Kuwait (CSK), Indian ises, the officials PBA led by Jessie and his team. Their show performance. I take sports is part of the education, their support: Ivan D’souza, Michael Dias, Penny Rebello, Community School Kuwait (ICSK), Indian English sponsors for the event Ajay Kumar (Boodai Aviation), which helps the young to develop themselves both Philip Duarte, Stephen Fernandes, Ronny Fernandes, Academy School (IEAS), Indian International School - James D’sa (National Aviation Services), Kenneth mentally and physically strong. Learn how to be a team Loyed Mascarenhas, Alex Sequeira, Hamza, Galvin Remedios (DBPPA), Shabbir Fakhruddin (Golden Medals). player, experience gained from such events helps to live D’sliva, Christopher Regan, Anand D’souza (Projector) Mangaf (IIS-M), Indian English School (IES). and our delegate Rev. Fr. Francisco Pereira - sdb, for all The tournament played on the new laid basketball A not of thanks to all the schools for their participating in in the world tomorrow. For me all were winners and the results of the coach- the assistance always there for support when needed. rubber court that was sponsored by Don Bosco Oratory the Championship, with a note of special thanks to the and Indian English Academy School. A special order coaches for standing by us with the constant change in es hard work was apparently displayed by the players. As The Organizing committee has vowed to make this sport mentioned next year it is going to be different with more more interesting, with a proper timetable, more gifts, from Sports Partner International - Portugal, this is the fixture and dates. I was extremely happy to watch the performance of excitements. I am sure the parents who all witnessed basketball clinic before the tournament for coaches and same court that is now used at various international events in Europe. The DBO committee would like to the children in this sport. One could tell that some were their children felt proud that their child represented the captains, surprise gifts for the audience.



Clerc boosts France ahead of England clash PARIS: Vincent Clerc will be back for France’s Six Nations trip to England on Feb. 23, representing a double boost for Les Bleus who can now field a recognised wing on the right flank and move Wesley Fofana back to centre. The inclusion of Clerc, ruled out of the first two championship matches with a thigh injury, means Fofana can revert to centre after starting the games against Italy and Wales on the wing. “We have made five changes (to the matchday squad) because it was important to regenerate physically and men-

tally,” France coach Philippe Saint-Andre said in a statement yesterday. “This is not a sanction for the players who are dropped. Against a powerful and efficient England team we want to send a commando unit to Twickenham.” Centre Maxime Mermoz, anonymous on Saturday when his side lost 16-6 at the Stade de France against holders Wales, has been omitted along with loose forwards Fulgence Ouedraogo and Damien Chouly, prop Yannick Forestier and lock Romain Taofifenua. Chouly and Taofifenua started on the

bench against Wales. “Fulgence needs to have a scan on his right shoulder and we need our players to be 100 percent,” added Saint-Andre. “It is better Fulgence gets treatment so he can be at his best for the last two games of the championship (against Ireland and Scotland).” Saint-Andre called up uncapped South African-born flanker Antonie Claassen and lock Christophe Samson who has made one previous appearance in a 49-10 win over Argentina in June. Claassen can play at number six or eight. “We have been following him for 15

months,” said Saint-Andre. “He is well integrated and speaks French fluently after playing six years in France. “I wish him the same success his predecessors had,” he added, referring to the Moroccan-born Abdelatif Benazzi, NewZealand born Tony Marsh and South African-born Eric Melville and Pieter de Villiers. Flanker Yannick Nyanga, who missed the 23-18 defeat in Italy at the start of the month through injury, returns and loosehead prop Thomas Domingo is back after being dropped from Saint-

Andre’s initial 33-man squad. Squad: Forwards - Vincent Debaty, Thomas Domingo, Benjamin Kayser, Dimitri Szarzewski, Luc Ducalcon, Nicolas Mas, Yoann Maestri, Christophe Samson, Jocelino Suta, Antonie Claassen, Thierry Dusautoir (captain), Yannick Nyanga, Louis Picamoles. Backs: Maxime Machenaud, Morgan Parra, Frederic Michalak, Francois TrinhDuc, Mathieu Bastareaud, Vincent Clerc, Benjamin Fall, Wesley Fofana, Florian Fritz, Yoann Huget.— Reuters

Saint-Andre delivers a surprise with Claassen pick

OSAKA: US skater Gracie Gold performs her ladies routine in the gala exhibition event after the Four Continents figure skating championships in Osaka yesterday.— AFP

Plushenko sues TV commentator MOSCOW: Figure skating icon Yevgeny Plushenko has launched legal action for defamation against a Russian commentator for Eurosport for claiming that a recent operation was only a public relations stunt, his lawyer said yesterday. Plushenko is suing the pan-European channel’s Russian language commentator Andrei Zhurankov, the 2006 Olympic champion’s lawyer Tatiana Akimtseva told RIANovosti news agency. “Yevgeny made an official request to the police demanding to make the Eurosport commentator Zhurankov responsible for defamation,” she said. “He presented the evidence that all of Zhurankov’s statements were nothing other

than lies and slander.” The lawyer added that Zhurankov has still issued no apologies to Plushenko while the Interfax news agency said that police were already carrying out an initial check. Three-time world champion and seventime European champion Plushenko underwent spinal surgery on January 31. He effectively retired from competition after the 2010 Vancouver Olympics but returned to the amateur circuit last year and won his 10th national title in December. Last month Plushenko, 30, failed to win his eighth European title when he was forced to retire in Zagreb with a back injury, which forced him to undergo surgery in Israel on an intervertebral disc. — AFP

PARIS: South African-born flanker Antonie Claassen yesterday was called up by coach Philippe Saint-Andre for the 23-strong French squad to prepare for the Six Nations match against England at Twickenham on February 23. Claassen was one of five changes to the squad that went down 16-6 to Wales at the Stade de France on Saturday leaving France winless after two games and bottom of the Six Nations standings. Others to be called up were prop Thomas Domingo, lock Christophe Samson, flanker Yannick Nyanga and winger Vincent Clerc. Left out were Yannick Forestier, Romain Taofifenua, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Damien Chouly and Maxime Mermoz. Ouedraogo was the only one left out for medical reasons, as he injured a shoulder in Saturday’s defeat while Mermoz’s demotion probably will see Wesley Fofana come in from the wing to his favoured centre position. “It was necessary to refresh the squad mentally and physically,” said Saint-Andre in a statement. “It is far from a punishment for the players who are leaving us, we just wanted to rediscover this level of spirit which allowed us to enjoy such a successful spell in November (three test wins over Australia, Argentina and Samoa). “It was also important to give ourselves some supplementary strategic options. “Coming up against an England side which is impressive both in its strength and pragmatism, we want to put in place the right conditions for a smash and grab raid at Twickenham. “For that it is imperative we have to boost our aggression.” Claassen, the son of former Springbok player and captain Wynand Claassen, is the ninth foreign-born player to be included in a French international line-up, the last being another South African centre, Brian Liebenberg, in 2003. Claassen, who arrived in France in 2007 first playing for Brive before moving to Castres, is eligible to play for France becuase he fulfils the criteria of having lived in his adopted country for more than three years. “He fits the profile of the player who will bring to our table power and fluid movement with the ball,” said Saint-Andre in a statement. The 31-year-old Clerc is back for his 65th cap after missing the defeats to Italy and Wales due

to a hamstring injury. He is currently France’s second-highest try scorer with 34, four behind full-back Serge Blanco. Domingo and Nyanga are also seasoned France internationals, while Castres lock Samson won his only cap to date as a replacement against Argentina last June. The two losses to Italy and Wales is the worst start to a Five/Six Nations tournament for the French since 1982 and they will be facing an England team full of confidence after wins over Scotland and Ireland. The France squad for the Six Nations match against England at Twickenham on February 23: Fowards: Vincent Debaty (Clermont), Thomas

Domingo (Clermont), Benjamin Kayser (Clermont), Dimitri Szarzewski (Racing-Metro), Luc Ducalcon (Racing-Metro), Nicolas Mas (Perpignan), Yoann Maestri ( Toulouse), Christophe Samson (Castres), Jocelino Suta (Toulon), Antonie Claassen (Castres), Thierry Dusautoir ( Toulouse, capt), Yannick Nyanga (Toulouse), Louis Picamoles (Toulouse) Backs: Maxxime Machenaud (Racing-Metro), Morgan Parra (Clermont), Frederic Michalak ( Toulon), Francois Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), Mathieu Bastareaud ( Toulon), Vincent Clerc (Toulouse) Benjamin Fall (Racing-Metro), Wesley Fofana (Clermont), Florian Fritz ( Toulouse), Yoann Huget (Toulouse). — AFP

LAS VEGAS: France’s sevens rugby team holds up the Bowl Final trophy of the Sevens Rugby World Series tournament, Sunday, in Las Vegas. France beat Argentina 17-12. — AP

Kittel takes lead in Oman after stage 1

PEBBLE BEACH: Brandt Snedeker follows his shot on the ninth fairway of the Pebble Beach Golf Course during the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament, Sunday, in Pebble Beach, California. — AP

Snedeker triumphs at Pebble Beach PEBBLE BEACH: FedExCup champion Brandt Snedeker finally reaped just reward for his red-hot early form on the PGA Tour this year when he eased to victory by two shots at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on Sunday. Runner-up behind Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in his two previous starts on the U.S. circuit, the American world number six closed with a seven-under-par 65 to post a tournament record low of 19-under 267. Co-leader overnight with compatriot James Hahn, Snedeker took control with an eagle on the second hole and never relinquished his grip on a glorious day of late winter sunshine on the picturesque Monterey Peninsula. American Chris Kirk sank a 16-foot birdie putt at the last for a 66 to finish alone in second, with PGA Tour rookie Hahn (70) a further three strokes back at 14-under in a three-way tie for third. It was Snedeker’s fifth career victory on the PGA Tour and his second in his last six starts, dating back to the Tour Championship in September when he also landed FedExCup honours. “It’s kind of crazy to think about what’s happened the last four months,” a smiling Snedeker told CBS after sealing victory with a par at the last before pumping his right fist in celebration and taking off his cap to acknowledge the crowd. “And to finish the West Coast (swing) off to win this way. It’s such a special place. To win at Pebble Beach on a beautiful day like this ... you can’t make this stuff up. It’s just too perfect.” Snedeker, who had recorded three topthree finishes in his first four events on the 2013 PGA Tour, said winning a first major title was now his top priority. “Finishing off a tournament like this with a win, it gives me a ton of confidence going into the Masters, the U.S. Open, all the great venues we have this year,” the 32-year-old said. “And that’s next on my list. I’ve won five

times out here now. The most important thing now is to win majors.” On a chilly, sunsplashed morning at Pebble Beach, Snedeker moved one stroke in front of playing partner Hahn at 14-under after sinking a four-foot eagle putt at the par-five second. Hahn, who had missed an eagle chance of his own at the second from seven feet, then lipped out with a five-foot birdie attempt at the third to remain one behind. Snedeker remained one ahead after he and Hahn both birdied the fourth before being handed a two-shot advantage when his playing partner bogeyed the par-three fifth after finding a greenside bunker off the tee. Further birdies followed for Snedeker at the sixth and the scenic par-three seventh, where he rolled in a 16-footer, as he moved three strokes clear at 17-under. The pacesetting American surprisingly bogeyed the parfour ninth, where he three-putted from 22 feet, to reach the turn in four-under 32, two ahead of the chasing pack at 16-under. Long regarded as one of the game’s best putters, Snedeker immediately rebounded with consecutive birdies, sinking a 26-footer at the 10th and a 16-footer at the 11th to stretch his lead to four shots. Though Kirk applied pressure with backto-back birdies on 13 and 14, Snedeker stayed in control with rock solid golf over the closing stretch. He recorded his sixth birdie of the day at the par-three seventh after hitting a superb seven-iron to 10 feet and coolly sinking the putt, then safely parred the 18th to secure the win. Snedeker’s closing 65 was his 10th consecutive round under 70 on the PGA Tour, and he will climb to a career-high fourth in the world when the rankings are issued yesterday. Defending champion Phil Mickelson closed with a level-par 72 to finish a distant 18 shots off the pace, his lowlight of the day a double-bogey at the 18th where he twice hit into the ocean.—Reuters

MUSCAT: German rider Marcel Kittel won stage one of the Tour of Oman yesterday after the Argos Shimano cyclist won a mass sprint at the end of a 162km run from Al Musannah to Sultan Qaboos University, west of Muscat. The 24-year-old, who won two stages on last year’s edition held off the challenge of Italian David Apollonio (AG2R) and French champion Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) who took the final spot on the podium. The rising Kittel - whose finest moment was winning the seventh stage on the 2011 Tour of Spain - will now wear the leader’s red jersey for stage 2 on Tuesday, which features a 146km jaunt from Fanja in Bidbid to Al Bustan. The six-stage race, which follows the Tour of Qatar, won by Britain’s Mark Cavendish last week, culminates on Saturday at Matra Corniche. Meanwhile, top Italian cyclist Ivan Basso yesterday gave evidence in the “Operation Puerto” doping trial, claiming that he used the services of a Spanish doctor on trial to try to achieve his aim of winning the Tour de France. The two-time Tour of Italy winner, who has previously served a two-year ban in connection with the case, told a court in Madrid via videolink from Tenerife: “I won before Puerto but also after Puerto. “From my point of view, (my collaboration with doctor Eufemaniano Fuentes) was a weakness to achieve my childhood dream of one day winning the Tour de France. I realised a year later that I had-

n’t made the right decision.” Fuentes is currently on trial in one of the most high-profile cases in sport in connection over a wide-ranging blood doping racket, with suspects across the drug-tarnished world of cycling and possibly others in different sports. He, his sister Yolanda and three other defendants from cycling teams are accused of endangering public health but not incitement to doping, which was not a crime in Spain at the time of their arrests in 2006. Basso-one of 58 cyclists suspected of involvement in the scandal but one of only six to be sanctioned-told the court through an interpreter that he had blood taken on three occasions in late 2005 but it was never re-injected. “My intention was to use the blood bags to win the Tour in 2006 but as the network was dismantled in May 2006, it never happened,” he added. Fuentes is suspected of running the racket, which was smashed after police seized 200 bags of bloods and plasma plus other evidence of performance-enhancing transfusions after a months-long investigation. Cannondale rider Basso, who was appearing as a witness in the case, said he had “complete confidence” in Fuentes and was in no doubt about his professionalism. Other athletes set to give evidence as witnesses include shamed US cyclist Lance Armstrong’s former team-mate Tyler Hamilton and Alberto Contador, the 2007 and 2009

Tour de France winner. The International Cycling Union (UCI) has toughened up its anti-doping policy by imposing an eight-day rest on riders following an injection of corticoids, it said yesterday. “The UCI must be informed by the doctor applying such an injection. The No Needle Policy, introduced by the UCI to its Medical Regulations in 2011, originally stipulated that a rider must not compete for 48 hours after a local injection of glucocorticosteroids,” the UCI said in a statement. UCI president Pat McQuaid explained that a rider in need of a corticoid injection should be resting, not competing. “A rider who raced at the weekend could receive an injection of glucocorticosteroids and be racing again in a mid-week competition,” the Irishman said. “Glucocorticosteroids are used to treat inflammations, so a rider requiring this treatment should not be racing within eight days. He or she should be attending his/her condition and resting.” Member teams of the MPCC (Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme CrÈdible, aka Movement for Credible Cycling) have already been abiding by this rule. Ten World Tour (elite) teams have joined the MPCC, with four of them (Astana, Blanco, Vacansoleil, Lampre) on a probationary period. Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins’s Team Sky, the top team in 2012, have not joined the MPCC, which was created in 2007. — Agencies

MUSCAT: Cyclists race yesterday in the 162 km first stage of the Tour of Oman, from Al Musannah to Sultan Qaboos University, west of Muscat. The six-stage race, which follows the Tour of Qatar, won by Britain’s Mark Cavendish last week, culminates on Saturday at Matra Corniche. — AFP



No great expectations for Serena in Doha DOHA: Serena Williams’ downbeat attitude to her recovery from injuries has raised doubts about her ability to regain the world No.1 one ranking after a two-and-a-half year interval during the Qatar Open this week. Williams needs only three wins to regain the top spot - possibly all against players who have never beaten her - and yet she downplayed her hopes with a mixture of glumness and brevity. “I don’t know, I had a great chance to be number one and I wanted it lot, but I didn’t get there,” she said, referring to her shock quarter-final loss to Sloane Stephens at the Australian Open last month. “It would be great. I obviously want it, but it’s not the only thing I want, you know, so if it happens, great. If not, I won’t miss anything, I don’t think,” she added surprisingly. Her words gave the impression that concerns about health were more important than the top spot. A bad back, often one of the most persistent ailments a tennis player can have, may still be troublesome, and it may be that there has not been enough time fully to recover from a badly twisted

ankle. Images of this, swollen grotesquely almost to the size of a beach ball, were posted on the internet after the Australian Open. “That picture was a nightmare. Imagine that - ugh!” she commented. Neither injury is hurting now, Williams said, still without painting a hopeful picture of her recovery. “I’m feeling a little better. You know, just taking it one day at a time, basically. So I will see how I feel after my first match. “It’s been just two weeks or just a few days (since losing to Sloane Stephens in the Australian Open) so there’s not been too much time to recover. But I’m here and I will just play and see how it goes.” Williams’ pessimism may be because she is spooked by the possibility of a repetition of her misfortunes of 2012 and 2011 when a sequence of injuries dumped her out of the top 100 and threatened her career. At the same time her form in the second half of 2012 was so exceptional, with the capture of two Grand Slams and two other major titles, that the prospects of her continuing the momentum into this year still seem vivid. But Williams did not sound

any more optimistic about the longer term than her prospects this week. “I just see how it plays out - I’ll just really do the best that I can,” she said, referring to the outlook for 2013. “If that’s winning a tournament or five, that’s great. If that’s winning zero, you know, at least I tried. So I’ll just give it a hundred percent.” Williams starts today with a match against the winner of the match between Anabel Medina Garrigues, the world No.58 from Spain, and Dara Gavrilova, the Russian who is based at the Paris academy of Patrick Mouratoglou, rumoured to be Williams’ boy-friend. If injuries permit, she might then play Roberta Vinci, the 15th seeded Italian. Another success would pitch her into a quarter-final with either Petra Kvitova, the former Wimbledon champion to whom she has never lost, or Nadia Petrova, the 11th seeded Russian by whom she has only been beaten three times in 11 encounters. She is seeded for a final with Victoria Azarenka, the top-seeded titleholder from Belarus, who will lose the world number one ranking if Williams were to reach Saturday’s semi-finals. —AFP

Serena Williams

Italy beat under-powered US in Fed Cup, face Czechs PARIS: Three-time winners Italy edged a weakened United States 3-2 on Sunday to reach the Fed Cup semi-finals and an April date with double defending champions, the Czech Republic. Italy, the champions in 2006, 2009 and 2010, needed top-ranked world doubles pair Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani to see them through on the clay courts of Rimini, winning 6-2, 6-2 against Liezel Huber and Varvara Lepchenko. Earlier, Lepchenko, the world number 21 and making her Fed Cup debut in the absence of Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens, stunned Errani, the world number seven, 7-5, 6-2 to give the US a surprise 2-1 lead. But Vinci then levelled the World Group first round tie with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 triumph over Jamie Hampton. Vinci also improved her perfect record in Fed Cup doubles to 18-0 — the best doubles record in the history of the tournament.

“They (Vinci and Errani) are the weapon. They’re like sisters and best friends, they can read each other’s body language,” Huber told “That’s why they’re No. 1 and think they’ll be that for many years to come. I really enjoy watching them play, but not against me.” Petra Kvitova, the world number eight, led holders Czech Republic into the semi-finals by winning the crucial third rubber against Australia in Ostrava when she saved a match point in beating Samantha Stosur 2-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4. The Czechs, bidding to become the first country in 18 years to win three successive Fed Cup titles, eventually wrapped up the tie 4-0 when Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka beat Australian Open finalists Casey Dellacqua and 16-year-old Ashleigh Barty 6-0, 7-6 (7/1) in the doubles. “I’m really happy. I think it was one of my best matches this season,” said 2011

Wimbledon champion Kvitova. Stosur, the 2011 US Open winner, said she was also happy with the way she played despite the loss. “I really don’t think I did much wrong today, I think Petra played a very good match,” she said. Italy will host the semifinal against the Czechs on April 20-21 while Russia will welcome Slovakia. Fourtime winners Russia also went to the wire, coming back from 2-1 down to beat Japan 3-2 in Moscow when Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova cruised to a 6-2, 6-2 win over Ayumi Morita and Misaki Doi. Russia and Japan had been locked 1-1 overnight before the Asian outsiders went 2-1 up when Morita defeated Vesnina, standing in for the unwell Maria Kirilenko, 6-4, 6-1. Makarova then levelled at 2-2 by easing past veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-1, 6-1. Date-Krumm, 42, who made her Fed Cup

debut way back in 1989, said she had needed pain-killers to help ease an Achilles tendon injury. “In the morning when I was practicing, it was even difficult to walk,” said the world 77. “I took some pain-killers before the match and adrenaline helped me when I was on court. I tried my best, but it just wasn’t enough.” Slovakia, the 2002 champions, will travel to Russia having knocked out 2012 runners-up Serbia in Belgrade. After being level 1-1 overnight, Daniela Hantuchova defeated Vesna Dolonc 6-3, 6-2 after teenager Jana Cepelova outlasted Bojana Jovanovski 5-7, 7-5, 11-9 in a three hour 18minute marathon. “It was a very emotional match for me, we both fought hard and I came out on top after hanging in there when she appeared to be closer to the finish line,” said Cepelova.—AFP

Parker stars as Spurs clip Nets VINA DEL MAR: Argentina’s Horacio Zeballos raises the trophy after defeating Spain’s Rafael Nadal at the final of the VTR Open in Vina del Mar, Chile, Sunday. Nadal lost to Zeballos 6-7 (2), 7-6 (6), 6-4 in Sunday’s final of the VTR Open, the Spaniard’s comeback tournament after seven months out with a torn tendon in his left knee, in Vina del Mar, Chile. — AP

Zeballos surprises Nadal to win Chilean Open VINA DEL MAR: Horacio Zeballos denied Rafael Nadal a fairytale finish to his comeback tournament on Sunday, rallying to hand the Spaniard a rare clay court defeat in the $410,200 ATP event here. Zeballos, ranked 73rd in the world and playing in just his second ATP Tour final, rallied to beat the former world number one 6-7 (2/7), 7-6 (8/6), 6-4. He became just the third player-along with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer-to beat Nadal in a clay court final, quite an achievement for the Argentinian despite the fact that Nadal was playing his first tournament in seven months. “It’s a dream for me,” said Zeballos. “To be able to play a final against Nadal was already good enough for me. It’s a moment that will stay in my memory for the rest of my life.” Nadal was back in action this week for the first time since a surprise second-round exit at Wimbledon in June. Since then he had been sidelined by a torn tendon and inflammation in his left knee, with his return this year further delayed by a virus. Now ranked fifth in the world, 11-time Grand Slam champion Nadal was the top seed and had lost just 14 games en route to the final. “It was a great tournament for me,” Nadal said. “If we take everything, it was positive. “It’s true I wanted to win the final but it wasn’t possible. He made things better than me and I didn’t play my best match. “I just need to keep working, practising with hope, motivation and the right attitude. I hope it’s the beginning of a lot of good things for me.” Neither player managed a break of serve in the first two sets. They traded breaks in the first two games of the third before Zeballos-clearly gaining confidence-broke Nadal at love in the final game to wrap up the victory in two hours and 46 minutes. Nadal had saved two break points in his first service game of the first set the only break chances of the opening frame. He dominated the tiebreaker but once again in the second set Nadal couldn’t break through against Zeballos’ potent serve. Zeballos saved two break points in the fourth game, and worked out of a 15-30 jam in the 10th to hold serve and knot the set at 5-5. Looking poised in the second-set tiebreaker, Zeballos gave himself two set points with a service winner for 6-4. Nadal saved both, but Zeballos gained another chance with a sizzling service return for 7-6 and duly pocketed the set. “I’ve worked really hard because I really wanted to be at this level,” Zeballos said. “For some months, I’ve been playing at a high level and I think I’m at the best moment of my career. I’m very strong physically and psychologically.” Nadal returned to the court later, teaming with Argentina’s Juan Monaco where they lost in the doubles final to Italians Paolo Lorenzi and Potito Starace 6-2, 6-4. The 26-year-old had played down his expectations coming into the week, saying he still felt some pain in the knee and just wanted to get in as many matches as possible to regain his sharpness. He plans to compete in clay court events in Brazil and Mexico before playing ATP Masters hard court events at Indian Wells and Miami and then heading to Europe for clay events in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome ahead of the French Open. Nadal’s triumph at Roland Garros last year was his 11th Grand Slam victory and his most recent title. Zeballos, who posted his first win over a top 10 player in three attempts, joined Aussie Bernard Tomic as first-time winners on the tour this year.—AFP

NBA results/standings LA Clippers 102, NY Knicks 88; Miami 107, LA Lakers 97; Boston 118, Denver 114 (OT); Toronto 102, New Orleans 89; Orlando 110, Portland 104; Memphis 105, Minnesota 88; San Antonio 111, Brooklyn 86; Oklahoma City 97, Phoenix 69.

NY Knicks Brooklyn Boston Philadelphia Toronto Indiana Chicago Milwaukee Detroit Cleveland Miami Atlanta Orlando Washington Charlotte

Oklahoma City Denver Utah Portland Minnesota LA Clippers Golden State LA Lakers Sacramento Phoenix San Antonio Memphis Houston Dallas New Orleans

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L PCT 32 17 .653 29 22 .569 27 23 .540 22 27 .449 19 32 .373 Central Division 31 20 .608 30 20 .600 25 24 .510 20 32 .385 16 35 .314 Southeast Division 34 14 .708 27 22 .551 15 36 .294 14 35 .286 11 39 .220 Western Conference Northwest Division 39 12 .765 33 19 .635 28 24 .538 25 26 .490 18 30 .375 Pacific Division 36 17 .679 30 21 .588 24 28 .462 19 33 .365 17 35 .327 Southwest Division 40 12 .769 32 18 .640 28 25 .528 22 28 .440 17 34 .333

GB 4 5.5 10 14 0.5 5 11.5 15 7.5 20.5 20.5 24

6.5 11.5 14 19.5 5 11.5 16.5 18.5 7 12.5 17 22.5

DOHA: Ana Ivanovic of Serbia returns the ball during her match against Tamira Paszek of Austria on the first day of the WTA Qatar Open in the capital Doha, yesterday. — AFP

MIAMI: Miami Heat’s LeBron James (6) drives against Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant during the first quarter of their NBA basketball game, Sunday, in Miami. The Heat won 107-97. — AP NEW YORK: San Antonio’s Tony Parker put in another brilliant performance to compensate for the absence of his two sidekicks, helping the NBA-leading Spurs to a comfortable 111 -86 win at the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday. Two nights after their 11-game winning streak was ended, the Spurs got back on track quickly thanks to Parker, who fell one point short of his third straight 30-point game only because he was so good he could sit out the final minutes of the rout. In other key games, Chris Paul led the way in his second game back from injur y as the Los Angeles Clippers beat New York, Boston survived triple overtime to edge Denver and notch its seventh-straight win, Miami’s LeBron James set a scoring streak record in the win over the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City had another big win over Phoenix. San Antonio’s Danny Green added 14 points to help Parker in the absence of injured pair Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. Joe Johnson scored 19 points for the Nets, who have lost 19 of their past 20 against the Spurs. Brooklyn’s home woes were matched by their crosstown rivals, the New York Knicks, who were beaten

102-88 by the Los Angeles Clippers. Paul scored 25 points and reserve Jamal Crawford had 27 for the Clippers, whose form had been shaky but who can look forward to a return home after Monday ’s game in Philadelphia, which ends an eightgame trip.Carmelo Anthony had 42 points - his fifth 40-point game this season - for the Knicks, but made only one basket in the fourth quarter. The Boston Celtics won a tripleovertime thriller against the Denver Nuggets, taking a 118-114 victory. Paul Pierce had a triple-double with 27 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists for Boston, including a vital 3-pointer which tied the game at the end of second overtime. Kevin Garnett had 20 points and grabbed 18 rebounds for the Celtics, who curiously remain unbeaten since Rajon Rondo’s season-ending knee injury. Ty Lawson scored 29 points to lead the Nuggets, who had won nine in a row. Miami’s James set a franchise record scoring streak as the Heat beat the L.A. Lakers 107-97 and stretched its winning run to five games. James had 32 points on 12-for-18 shooting to bring up a record fifth straight game with at least 30 points. Dwyane Wade scored 30 for Miami,

which moved 2-1/2 games clear of New York atop the Eastern Conference standings.Kobe Bryant had 28 points and nine assists for the Lakers, who had eight turnovers to none in the final quarter. Oklahoma City Thunder beat Phoenix 97-69, meaning they had beaten the Suns by a combined 59 points over two nights. Thabo Sefolosha made a career-high 5 3pointers while Russell Westbrook scored 24 points in 28 minutes for the Thunder, which has won 10 straight against the Suns. Markieff Morris was the only Phoenix player in double figures with 12 points. Memphis’ Tayshaun Prince scored 18 points, hitting all eight of his shots from the field, and the Grizzlies puller away in the second quarter before coasting to a 105-88 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Sacramento’s Isaiah Thomas scored 17 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter and John Salmons also had 23 points to help rally the Kings to a 117-111 win over the Houston Rockets. The Orlando Magic snapped a 12-game losing skid with a 110-104 win over the Portland Trail Blazers, while the Toronto Raptors recorded a 102-89 home win over the New Orleans Hornets. —AP


S P ORT S NHL results/standings Detroit 3, Los Angeles 2; Edmonton 3, Columbus 1; Boston 3, Buffalo 1; NY Rangers 5, Tampa Bay 1; New Jersey 3, Pittsburgh 1; Chicago 3, Nashville 0.

Chicago Detroit Nashville St. Louis Columbus

10 7 5 6 3

Western Conference Central Division 0 2 42 25 22 4 1 33 32 15 3 4 24 26 14 4 1 38 36 13 7 2 24 39 8

Vancouver Edmonton Minnesota Calgary Colorado

7 5 5 3 4

Northwest Division 2 2 33 24 16 4 3 28 30 13 5 1 24 29 11 4 2 25 33 8 6 0 21 26 8

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W New Jersey 8 Pittsburgh 8 NY Rangers 6 Philadelphia 5 NY Islanders 4

LOTL 1 3 5 0 5 0 6 1 6 1

GF 33 41 29 29 32

GA PTS 24 19 32 16 27 12 33 11 37 9

Boston Toronto Ottawa Montreal Buffalo

8 7 6 6 5

Northeast Division 1 1 29 21 17 5 0 34 31 14 4 2 31 23 14 4 1 31 30 13 7 1 39 46 11

Tampa Bay Carolina Winnipeg Florida Washington

6 5 5 4 3

Southeast Division 5 0 43 32 12 4 1 28 30 11 5 1 30 37 11 6 1 25 40 9 8 1 30 41 7

Pacific Division Anaheim 8 2 1 39 31 17 San Jose 7 2 2 34 22 16 Dallas 6 5 1 26 28 13 Phoenix 5 5 2 32 33 12 Los Angeles 3 5 2 22 31 8 Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L)

NASHVILLE: Gabriel Bourque #57 of the Nashville Predators pursues Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks at the Bridgestone Arena on Sunday in Nashville, Tennessee. — AFP

Chicago beat Predators 3-0 for 4th straight win

PITTSBURGH: Evgeni Malkin # 71 of the Pittsburgh Penguins takes a face-off against Travis Zajac # 19 of the New Jersey Devils during the first period on Sunday at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.—AFP

Media face $10m suit over Australia doping scandal SYDNEY:- A sports scientist at the centre of doping allegations in Australia plans a Aus$10 million lawsuit against media outlets, with his lawyer yesterday scathing of how investigations have been handled. Stephen Dank claims he has been falsely accused of selling illegal drugs to sportspeople as part of a bombshell nationwide doping scandal after an official report said the use of prohibited substances was widespread. Dank, co-owner of a Sydney anti-ageing clinic, has worked with both National Rugby League and Australian Rules football clubs. One of them, Essendon, is being investigated for supplying suspect supplements to its players. Despite no charges, he has been widely portrayed by media as the villain of the piece but his lawyer Greg Stanton said it was unfair and he was launching a defamation claim against various, unnamed, outlets. Stanton said he had concerns about the way the process had unfolded, with the Australian Crime Commission report, released Thursday, claiming the use of peptides, hormones and illicit drugs was common across multiple sporting codes. “There are no specificities,” Stanton told ABC radio, adding that Dank had been provided with no information and was not aware of any investigation into

him despite the media attention. “What we do know is this: the government, hand in hand with the commission it would seem, is prepared to create a shadow and a cloud over people such as my client without any credible and reliable information being suggested, yet alone being made public. “That is the gross injustice of what is occurring at this point in time.” The official report indicated that sports scientists, coaches and support staff as well as doctors and pharmacists were involved in the provision of drugs, which were often supplied by organised criminal gangs. But it did not name specific players, teams or codes due to legal reasons and concern has been growing that all sportspeople and those working with them are being tarred with the same brush. On Sunday, Australian Rules football chiefs admitted the code was involved in the scandal, saying two clubs and a number of individual players had been implicated. Separately, News Limited reported that six of Australia’s 16 National Rugby League sides had been named, citing confidential sources. Cricket, football and rugby union authorities have insisted they were not under investigation. — AFP

NASHVILLE: Marcus Kruger and Jonathan Toews each scored 66 seconds apart in the second period, and the Chicago Black hawks remained the NHL’s lone undefeated team in regulation by beating the Nashville Predators 30 Sunday night. Patrick Kane also added a goal in the third as the Blackhawks wrapped up their season-high six-game road trip with their fourth straight win and improved to 10-0-2 overall and 8-0-2 away from Chicago. Goalie Corey Crawford got Chicago’s first shutout of the season and the sixth of his career making 17 saves. Nashville lost a 2-1 over time game at Minnesota on Saturday night. Back home to start a four game homestand, the Predators had their 17th consecutive sold-out crowd. But the Predators reverted back to their early offensive woes struggling to shoot the puck at the net. They missed their best chance at scoring when Nick Spaling’s backhander sent the puck sliding across the crease before hitting off the

far post at 10:02 of the first period. Nashville managed only three shots on goal in the first. Chicago had the advantage of a couple days off after a 6-2 win at Phoenix on Thursday night, and the Blackhawks had plenty of fans on hand as they took the first of five games between these Central Division rivals this shortened season. They got some nice payback after going 2-40 against Nashville in losing last season’s series for the first time since 2006-07. The Predators outscored Chicago 25-16 last season and had won four of the previous six games between these teams in Nashville. The rest showed in the second as the Blackhawks almost camped out in front of Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne. Rinne had won four straight starts and hadn’t allowed an evenstrength goal since Jan. 28. But that streak ended at 316 minutes, 40 seconds when Nashville defenseman Roman Josi kicked the puck, trying to clear it, right to Kruger near the high slot. Kruger snapped a shot over Rinne’s stick for his

second goal of the season at 6:14. Chicago also got a bit of luck as Duncan Keith’s shot from the right circle deflected off Toews in front of Rinne and went up and over the Nashville goalie into the net at 7:20 for a 20 lead. It was Toews’ sixth goal of the season and the 150th of his career. The Blackhawks wound up with 27 shots, including Kane’s ninth goal this season. He scored at 4:27 of the third after skating up the left boards and shooting at the net, sneaking the puck past Rinne for the 3-0 lead and yet another Chicago win. Notes: The Blackhawks will play their third home game Tuesday night when they host Anaheim at the United Center to start a sevengame homestand. ... These teams won’t play again until April 1 for the first of four games in 19 days. ... Chicago went 18-18-5 on the road last season. ... Chicago came in with a leaguebest 33 goals on the road. ... Kane came in with 17 points in nine road games, best in the NHL. He now has eight goals and 10 assists. — AP

IOC set to cut one sport from program of 2020 Games LAUSANNE: IOC leaders are meeting this week to decide which sport to drop from the Olympic program and how to deal with the fallout from the Lance Armstrong doping scandal. At a two-day IOC executive board meeting opening today, the IOC will also review preparations for the Winter Olympics in Sochi - less than a year away - and the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, as well as select a short list of finalists for the 2018 Youth Olympics. Modern pentathlon, a tradition-steeped contest invented by the founder of the modern Olympics, is expected to face close scrutiny when the board considers which of the current 26 summer Olympic sports to remove from the program of the 2020 Games. Taking out one sport will make way for a new sport to be added to the program later this year. The executive board will review a report from the IOC program commission assessing each of the sports contested at last summer’s London Olympics. The report analyzes more than three dozen criteria, including television ratings, ticket sales, anti-doping policy and global participation and popularity. With no official rankings or recommendations contained in the report, the final decision by the 15-member executive board will likely be influenced by political, emotional and sentimental factors. Among the sports considered the most vulnerable is modern pentathlon, which was created for the Olympics by French baron Pierre de Coubertin. It has been on the program since the 1912 Stockholm Games, where George S. Patton the future US Army general - finished fifth. Modern pentathlon combines fencing, horse riding, swimming, running and shooting - the five skills required of a 19th century cavalry officer. The sport’s governing body, the UIPM, has been lobbying hard to protect its Olympic status. UIPM President Klaus Schormann said his sport has broadened its appeal with a one-day format while also upholding the traditions of the past and the legacy of De Coubertin. “The Olympic movement always needs history,” he told The Associated Press. “You cannot just say we look only at the future. You can have a future when you are stable on the basic part of history. We are continuing to develop, to renovate, to be innovative

and creative. We are very proud of what we achieved so far and want to deliver this as well for the next generations in 2020.” Taekwondo, the Korean martial art that has been in the Olympics since 2000, has also been mentioned as being among the sports in potential danger. The sport introduced a new scoring system in London to eliminate judging controversies and the gold medals, previously dominated by South Koreans, were spread among eight different nations. The future of wrestling, badminton and table tennis have also been the subject of speculation.The last sports removed from the Olympics were baseball and softball, voted out by the IOC in 2005 and off the program since the 2008 Beijing Games. Joining the program at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro will be golf and rugby. Baseball and softball have combined forces to seek inclusion in 2020, competing against taekwondo, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu. Whichever sport is

dropped Tuesday will join those seven vying for the single opening in 2020. The IOC executive board will meet in May in St Petersburg, Russia, to decide which sport or sports to propose for 2020 inclusion. The final vote will be made at the IOC general assembly in September in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This week, the IOC will also discuss the crisis in cycling following the doping revelations that led to Armstrong being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life from elite sports. Armstrong was also stripped by the IOC of his bronze medal from the 2000 Sydney Games, though the medal has not yet been returned. The international cycling federation, the UCI, has been in open conflict with the World AntiDoping Agency over the terms of any “truth and reconciliation” process offering amnesties to those who come forward with information. UCI President Pat McQuaid has written all IOC members seeking their support. He also is reportedly seeking help to fund the process.— AP

SOCHI: A snowcat prepares a halfpipe during the Snowboard World Cup Test Event at the Snowboard and Freestyle Center in Rosa Khutor one of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic venues, near the Black Sea resort of Sochi, yesterday. — AFP

Botha will take drug test to clear his name

LAUSANNE: South-Korean footballer Park Jong Woo arrives for a hearing before the Disciplinary Commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) yesterday in Lausanne. Park’s bronze medal was withheld by the IOC at the London 2012 Games. After South Korea beat Japan 2-0 on, Park held up a sign with the national flag and a slogan supporting his country’s claim over the islands - known as Dokdo in South-Korea and as Takeshima in Japan. — AFP

JOHANNESBURG: Boxer Frans Botha will have another drug test today to clear his name and said his chaotic fight with rugby player Sonny Bill Williams was “a disgusting state of affairs” and “amounts to match-fixing.” In a statement released through his promoters, the South African said the doping test which Australian media reported he had failed - before losing a decision for the vacant WBA international heavyweight title - was administered by “a confidant” of Williams’ manager, Khoder Nasser. Botha, who has challenged Lennox Lewis and Vladimir Klitschko for world titles in a 23-year career, has asked his manager to apply to have the Williams bout removed from his record after he was unaware Saturday’s fight had been shortened

from 12 to 10 rounds. Botha reportedly tested positive for the banned stimulant Phentermine before he lost on points to Williams, a former New Zealand rugby union international. He said on Monday the person who administered the drug test was “either a relative or a friend” of Williams’ manager. “I had a drug test a few days before the fight but I found out afterwards that it was not official when I asked for the results,” Botha said. Their shambolic fight in Australia was also changed to 10 rounds from the originally advertised and WBA standard 12 rounds, which Botha said he didn’t know until the final round. “I had Williams in all sorts of trouble in the 10th round and there was no way he was going to last one more round, let alone two, he was out on his feet,” Botha said. “It was a disgusting

state of affairs and it amounts to match-fixing. I have asked my manager to apply to have the bout expunged from my record.” Regional WBA representative Brad Vocale has said that he has doubts as to whether the fight was ever sanctioned by the WBA and that “sadly, boxing has been given a black eye again.” Many fans at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre booed the decision, believing Botha had won the fight. Some bookmaking agencies refunded bets. The chaos at the Botha-Williams fight came days after the Australian Crime Commission released a report identifying significant use of doping in professional sport in the country, along with possible match-fixing and manipulation of betting markets.— AP




Pressure piling on under-fire Mancini at pedestrian City LONDON: Manchester City have one realistic chance left for a title and should they fail in the FA Cup at the weekend against second-tier Leeds United, manager Roberto Mancini will find himself under even more scrutiny. Already criticised for his blaming of players and refusal to support those who have had a bad game, the Italian knows that with their Premier League chances all but gone Sunday’s clash with Leeds is vital to his survival. A lack of movement in the transfer market by City pre-season and in January have exposed Mancini’s league title holders this term, high-

lighted by another failed Champions League campaign. A 12-point gap to make up on leaders Manchester United after a 3-1 defeat at lowly Southampton on Saturday led Mancini to blast his team’s poor performance and players performing “without strength and personality”. “When you play football and you are a top player, you should take your responsibility, always,” Mancini was quoted as saying in The Telegraph newspaper. “It’s not always the fault of the manager. The players should take responsibility.”

Key performers last season, goalkeeper Joe Hart and midfielder Gareth Barry, both made horrendous errors at the weekend to gift the hosts their second and third goals. Even their imposing midfield engine Yaya Toure, back from the African Nations Cup, was well below his best, while fellow midfielder Javi Garcia had to play at centre back against Southampton such is City’s lack of strength in depth. Few City fans would argue with their manager’s assessment that Saturday’s abysmal loss was the side’s “worst game in two or three years

maybe.” Mancini made it clear to the club’s owners after their title success last season that a failure to boost the squad would likely result in a barren 2012/13 and his predictions seem to be coming true. Mancini is working overtime to meet the demands of Abu Dhabi owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who bought City in 2008 and has turned them into the world’s richest club. The Italian has criticised the recent fair play rules that will constrain the spending of top-flight clubs and could result in points being docked if they

fail to comply with limits on financial losses and curbs on increases in player wages. While this and a lack of transfers have been hurdles for Mancini to overcome, his management has at times been suspect this season. City’s fans’ patience could again be tested against Leeds, with reports that Mancini is set to ring the changes for the Cup clash at the Etihad Stadium as a reaction to Saturday’s defeat. “I only want players who are ready for the fight in the last 12 games,” Mancini told the Manchester Evening News. — Reuters

Lyon, Marseille stumble in France

LENNOXTOWN: Celtic's Scottish midfielder Scott Brown (C) takes part in a training session at Lennoxtown Training facility, near Glasgow, Scotland, yesterday ahead of their UEFA Champions League last sixteen football match against Juventus today. — AFP

PARIS: Paris Saint-Germain’s hopes of winning a first French crown since 1994 and thereby giving David Beckham’s upcoming stint in the City of Light a glorious tinge were boosted Sunday when their nearest rivals dropped points. Lyon slumped to what could prove to be a significant 3-1 home loss to mid-table Lille as the easterners failed to make inroads into a six-point deficit while third-placed Marseille, the 2010 champions, could only manage a 1-1 draw at modest Evian after finishing with nine men. Lyon handed Lille their first win of 2013 after the hosts turned in a pale showing at the Stade Gerland. Aurelien Chedjou headed Lille in front from a corner on the half hour and then Dimitri Payet fed Florent Balmont, formerly of Lyon, for the second on the stroke of half-time. Salomon Kalou made it 3-0 to the visitors with a penalty five minutes after the restart following a handball by Milan Bisevac before Argentine striker Lisandro pulled one back from the spot after Chedjou was adjudged to have impeded him. While Lyon, all of whose titles came on a

roll between 2002 and 2008, went down to their fifth league loss, Marseille found struggling Evian an irritating rival. Andre-Pierre Gignac scored five minutes after the break for Marseille, playing a one-two with Mathieu Valbuena, for his eighth goal of the season. But the southerners’ hopes of a win evaporated when Yannick Sagbo levelled on the hour from the penalty spot to leave OM eight points off the summit. The spot-kick came following a foul on Saber Khlifa by Kassim Abdallah, for which the latter, an international defender for the Comoros Islands, saw red as the last man. Marseille also had Ghanaian star Jordan Ayew sent off with 15 minutes remaining for two yellow cards in quick succession after coming on as a substitute and were unable to do better than glean only their second point in their last three league matches, leaving coach Elie Baup frustrated. “It’s not enough as you always hope to win. We could have done but then we ended up down to nine men. I did see some interesting elements for the future.” On Ayew’s swift dismissal Baup said: “You have to be careful once you’re on a booking.

He’s young and impulsive but this will help him to mature. It’s a painful learning process for everyone. These are things which can be avoided,” Baup reflected. Marseille also suffered from the absence through a foot injury of Ayew’s brother Andre and suspended English midfielder Joey Barton. PSG, looking forward to having global icon Beckham available from this week, beat Bastia 3-1 at the Parc des Princes on Friday with Jeremy Menez, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ezequiel Lavezzi all on target. Saint Etienne and Rennes are both on 40 points, only three behind Marseille, after the former overcame blizzard-like conditions in the Rhone-Alpes region to move fourth with a 4-1 home win over reigning champions Montpellier. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted his 11th goal of the campaign with Brandao, Yohan Mollo and Mathieu Bodmer helping extend Les Verts’ winning streak to four games. Rennes kept their impressive form going with a 2-0 home success over Toulouse courtesy of goals from Romain Alessandrini and Mevlut Erding. — AFP

Juventus prepare for lion’s den in Glasgow LONDON: Juventus will enter the “lion’s den” today when they take on a Celtic side flying the flag for Scottish soccer. The Champions League last-16 firstleg tie in Glasgow is the fifth meeting between the proud old clubs and the first since 2001 when Celtic pulled off a shock. Celtic, the lone Scottish rangers in the competition this season, beat Barcelona on a memorable night in Glasgow in the group phase and any disparity in the quality of the squads will be bridged by the roars of nearly 60,000 Glaswegians. While the national team languishes bottom of their World Cup qualifying group and the Scottish Premier League is still reeling from the demotion of bankrupt giants Rangers, Celtic’s run to the knockout rounds for the first time in five seasons has been nothing short of remarkable. Barca midfielder Xavier described a packed Celtic Park as a “marvel” following his side’s 2-1 defeat in November and former Juventus great Pavel Nedved knows what awaits the Serie A champions this week. “I’m fully aware of the atmosphere that awaits us in Glasgow because I’ve been there and experienced it first hand,” Nedved, now a Juve director, said. “We’ll be stepping into a lion’s den and I don’t think the team will need firing up. We’ll have to tough it out.” Celtic manager Neil Lennon made 10 changes when his league leaders warmed up for the visit of Juve with a 3-1 victory at Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Saturday. Ever since the draw for the last 16 was made, all eyes have been on Feb. 12 and the Northern Irishman said the crowd would play a huge part. “The players rested have been in great form for what will be a titanic game,” he told the Glasgow Herald.

“I’m always optimistic going into games and the crowd will play a huge part. “It’s a two-game tie, so it won’t be over no matter what happens today. I want us to get a good foothold in the tie. Of course, we want to go to Italy with a lead. “We want to be in a position where Juventus really have to knock on our door to try and win it and our away form has been healthy this season.” Antonio Conte’s Juventus beat Fiorentina 2-0 to open up a five-point lead in Serie A before turning their attention to Celtic - a team they lost to on their most recent meeting when a side containing Nedved and Alessandro del Piero lost 4-3. Keeper Gianluigi Buffon is the only survivor from that Juve team while new signing Nicolas Anelka, a veteran of many Champions League campaigns with Real Madrid and Chelsea, has warned his new team mates that they are in for a big test. “What Celtic have going for them is no pressure,” he said. “For the team that nobody expects to win there is a freedom for the players in the way they approach the game and sometimes that is when you can play your best football. “It will be a tough game in Glasgow. It is one of the most famous and intense football cities in the world.” Juventus have midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah back in the squad after African Nations Cup duty with Ghana but defender Paolo De Ceglie is not included because of a thigh injury. Celtic, however, are unlikely to be able to call on Efe Ambrose after he helped Nigeria win the Nations Cup on Sunday. “He seems to think he will be back on Monday evening or the early hours of Tuesday; we will assess him and see how he is,” Lennon told reporters. “It’s difficult for me to think he will be in a starting position.” — Reuters

GLASGOW: Juventus' captain Gianluigi Buffon during their training session at Celtic Park, Glasgow, Scotland, yesterday. Juventus will play Celtic in a Champions League match today. — AP

VALENCIA: Paris Saint-Germain's Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic (L) and Paris Saint-Germain's Dutch defender Gregory van der Wiel take part in a training session at Mestalla stadium in Valencia yesterday on the eve of their UEFA Champions League football match against Valencia. — AFP

Haves take on have-nots as PSG meet Valencia MADRID: Paris St Germain’s trip to Valencia in the Champions League today pits the wealthy French team against one of many La Liga clubs struggling to stay competitive after years of financial struggle. The contrast is less than flattering for Valencia who, rather than splurging hundreds of millions of euros on top players, have been forced year-in year-out to sell leading performers like David Villa, David Silva and Juan Mata. They are now effectively owned by the Valencia government after the club’s foundation was unable to keep up with payments on a bank loan guaranteed by the regional administration that was used to buy a stake in the club. The club had debts of almost 400 million euros ($535 million) in the 2010-11 season, according to a recent study by an accounting professor at the University of Barcelona, and a new stadium under construction has been left half built. Qatari-backed PSG, by contrast, have used their financial windfall to hire Champions League-winning Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti and players such as Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Brazil defender Thiago Silva and Argentina forward Ezequiel Lavezzi. According to the latest transfer review by Barcelona-based Prime Time Sport, the French club spent 249 million euros on players over the last four seasons, putting them fourth in the major European leagues behind

Barcelona (278 million), Real Madrid (428 million) and Manchester City (442 million). PSG are riding high at the top of Ligue 1 after Friday’s 3-1 win at home to Bastia while Valencia are improving but still down in fifth place in La Liga and in danger of missing out on a Champions League spot next season. Unlike last-16 counterpart Ancelotti, Valencia coach Ernesto Valverde did not rest key players at the weekend with captain Roberto Soldado, playmaker Ever Banega and winger Sofiane Feghouli featuring in Saturday’s last-gasp 1-0 win at Celta Vigo. Striker Nelson Valdez came off the bench and headed the winner in the third minute of added time as Valencia’s form continued to pick up under Valverde who replaced the sacked Mauricio Pellegrino in December. Valencia full back Joao Pereira told a news conference on Sunday that PSG are not just Ibrahimovic and 10 other players. The Swede, who once spent a season with Valencia’s La Liga rivals Barcelona, has been in scintillating form this term and tops the Ligue 1 scoring charts with 21 goals in as many appearances. Pereira said he and his team mates should not be obsessed with thwarting Ibrahimovic as the PSG squad was full of dangerous players. “They are all very good footballers and we have to be very focused to try and stop them,” Pereira added. “They have a lot of stars and are building a

team. They have signed some great players and the more time they spend playing together the better the team will be.” PSG’s latest signing, former England captain David Beckham, is expected to be in the stands for the first leg at the Mestalla today. Probable teams: Valencia: 1-Diego Alves; 12-Joao Pereira, 20-Ricardo Costa, 4-Adil Rami, 17-Andres Guardado; 24-Tino Costa, 21-Daniel Parejo; 8-Sofiane Feghouli, 7-Jonas, 10-Ever Banega; 9-Roberto Soldado PSG: 30-Salvatore Sirigu; 26-Christophe Jallet, 13-Alex, 3-Mamadou Sakho, 17Maxwell; 7-Jeremy Menez, 24-Marco Verratti, 14-Blaise Matuidi, 27-Javier Pastore; 11Ezequiel Lavezzi, 18-Zlatan Ibrahimovic Referee: Paolo Tagliavento (Italy). — Reuters

Matches on TV (Local Timings)

UEFA Champions League Valencia v Saint Germain Aljazeera Sport +4


Celtic v Juventus Aljazeera Sport +5


Zeballos surprises Nadal to win Chilean Open



Chicago beat Predators 3-0 for 4th straight win


Juventus prepare for lion’s den in Glasgow

Page 19

OLD TRAFFORD: A combination of two file pictures shows Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson (L) during the FA Cup third round replay football match Manchester United vs West Ham United at Old Trafford in Manchester, on January 16, 2012 and Real Madrid’s Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho reacting during the UEFA Champions League football match Real Madrid vs Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on September 18, 2012. (Inset) A combo picture shows Real Madrid’s Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United’s Dutch forward Robin van Persie. Manchester United will resume their historic rivalry with Real Madrid tomorrow. — AFP

Ferguson, Mourinho renew old rivalry ‘It is the match the world is waiting for’ PARIS: Manchester United will resume their historic rivalry with Real Madrid tomorrow with Jose Mourinho talking up the eagerly-awaited Champions League clash as the game “the whole world is waiting for”. United, the three-time champions, go to Madrid, the record nine-time winners, in the latest instalment of a European rivalry which dates back to 1957. Their last meeting, in the 2003 quarter-finals, was a goalladen classic with Real squeezing through 6-5 on aggregate after two breathless encounters. “It is the match the world is waiting for,” said Mourinho ahead of tomorrow’s last-16, first leg clash. “The world is not waiting for other matches in the Champions League, so I hope we can give the world what they are waiting for.” Mourinho spoke in glowing terms about United’s veteran manager and their long-standing friendship and rivalry, one that dates back to Mourinho’s early years in management with Porto in his homeland and his successful spell at Chelsea. “I feel privileged about that because he is such an important person in the world of football and, more importantly than that, he is a good person,” said Mourinho. Alex Ferguson said he was ready to lock horns against the colourful Mourinho who was at Old Trafford on Sunday to see United beat Everton 2-0

and stretch their lead at the top of the Premier League to 12 points. “I think he’ll relish going up against me,” said Ferguson. “It’s a great challenge, the two biggest clubs in the world. It’s a great game for us. “I think Jose has set his sights on the European Cup this year, no doubt about that. It makes it harder for us in one way, but for them, too.” Scottish champions Celtic, who became the first British team to win the competition back in 1967, surprised many by reaching the last-16 and there are genuine hopes of putting up a true challenge against three-time champions Juventus. Neil Lennon’s outsiders will be carried along on a wave of thunderous support today at Parkhead where they famously defeated Barcelona in the group stages. Paris Saint-Germain go to 2000 and 2001 finalists Valencia in the only other match today. Tomprrow, Borussia Dortmund, who won their pool ahead of Real Madrid, are looking to repeat their solitary European Cup triumph of 1997. Coach Juergen Klopp will get a chance to put his team’s mediocre domestic form to one side when they face a chilly trip to Shakhtar Donetsk and a team who outqualified defending champions Chelsea in the group stage. These four matches complete the first week of action where teams that finished second in their

group play the first-leg at home with the return fixtures set for the week of March 5 and 6. Barcelona’s legion of fans will have to wait until February 20 before facing AC Milan at the San Siro. Massimiliano Allegri’s Milan have only lost once in five meetings with Barcelona, dating back to 2001. Barca, however, knocked out Milan 3-1 on aggregate in last season’s quarter-finals after the first leg finished 0-0 in Italy. The Catalan giants are well on their way to a 22nd La Liga title, but few will forget last year’s competition where they suffered a shock semi-final exit against Chelsea. Bayern Munich are also rumbling ruthlessly to a first Bundesliga crown in three seasons, but face a dangerous trip to the Emirates Stadium and a meeting with Arsenal. Elsewhere, Porto will relish the chance of taking on debutants Malaga, in a matchup that will give both teams genuine hope of reaching the quarterfinals. Galatasaray fly the flag for Turkey in a bid to bring the European Cup home for the first time and the arrivals of Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder have injected huge hope into the Istanbul club’s chances. German side Schalke 04, whose only European success was winning the 1997 UEFA Cup, stand in their way of a place in the last eight for the first time since 2001. — AFP

Keshi quits as Nigeria coach JOHANNESBURG: Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi told a South African radio station yesterday that he had resigned after leading his country to the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations title. “I gave the national football federation my letter of resignation immediately after the final, but I have not heard from them,” Keshi revealed to public broadcaster SABC. Keshi dropped hints last week of his unhappiness with Nigerian football officials in Durban before the semi-final drubbing of Mali, telling a media conference he would “pack his bags and leave” if unwanted. “If, back home, they do not like what I am doing, well, you cannot force someone to like you,” said only the second Nations Cup-winning coach after the late Egyptian Mahmoud El Gohary to also

achieve the feat as a player. Keshi captained Nigeria to victory over Zambia in the 1994 final and guided his country to a 1-0 win over Burkina Faso Sunday in a Soweto final settled by a Sunday Mba goal five minutes before half-time. The coach was reportedly furious when he discovered that Nigerian officials had booked a flight home for the squad immediately after the quarterfinal against title favourites Ivory Coast. He viewed this action as a lack of confidence in his ability to plot the downfall of a star-stacked Ivorian side skippered by African football legend Didier Drogba. Nigeria deservedly won the match 21 with their younger, hungrier mix of local and foreign-based stars running the ageing Elephants ragged and Mba snatched a late match-winner.

Keshi spoke highly of Mali last week, saying he would not mind returning to a country he coached at the 2010 Cup of Nations in Angola only to be fired after a first-round elimination. “It is a place that I love, Malians are wonderful people. Should the chance arise, I will go back there,” said the 51year-old who also had two spells with Togo before replacing sacked Samson Siasia as Nigeria coach two years ago. His playing career spanned clubs in Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Belgium, France, the United States and Malaysia, and he was an outstanding centre-back for the national team. Calls to Keshi went unanswered and no Nigerian official was immediately available for comment. The triumphant squad are scheduled to arrive home today. —AFP

Chelsea fans prefer to hail Dave, not Cesar LONDON: Cesar Azpilicueta has taken time to settle in at Chelsea but the Spain defender affectionately known as ‘Dave’ by the fans is beginning to make a name for himself at Stamford Bridge. Azpilicueta, who joined the club from Olympique Marseille for a fee of seven million pounds ($11.09 million) in August, produced his best display for the European champions as they brushed aside Wigan Athletic 4-1 in the Premier League on Saturday. On a day of perfect symmetry in west London, the supporters welcomed back old favourite Frank Leboeuf when the former World Cup winner was paraded at halftime. The Frenchman won a host of medals in his five years at Chelsea before leaving for Marseille in 2001 and was so popular with the fans that he had his own song, ‘He’s here, he’s there, he’s everywhere, Frank Le-boeuf, Frank Leboeuf’. Azpilicueta was similarly industrious against Wigan, popping up with lastditch interventions in his own penalty box, launching attacks with his speed down the right and delivering inch-perfect crosses. His name may be a bit of a tongue twister for the Chelsea supporters, hence the choice of nickname, but the 23-yearold is showing a growing authority in every game he plays at right back. The fast-raiding Azpilicueta laid on two of the goals on Saturday, the second

for Eden Hazard and the final one in stoppage time by Germany midfielder Marko Marin. “It was the first time I was involved in so many goals and it was a very good week for me,” the Spaniard told the club website ( yesterday. “The last few results have been disappointing so it was very good we won. Tottenham had won before our game and we wanted to keep our league position and we did,” added Azpilicueta who made his Spain debut in last Wednesday ’s 3-1 friendly win over Uruguay in Qatar. Tottenham, Chelsea’s chief rivals for third spot, put the pressure on their fellow Londoners by defeating Newcastle United 2-1 in Saturday’s early kickoff. Rafa Benitez’s team responded in style, though, moving back up to third with their first victory in five games in all competitions. Chelsea’s attention now turns to the Europa League last-32 first leg at Sparta Prague on Thursday. “The Europa League is not the same as the Champions League because that is the top but the Europa League is... an important competition,” said Azpilicueta whose nickname is an oblique reference to a character from the TV show ‘Only Fools and Horses’. “Never in the history of Chelsea have we won this cup and we are going to try to do it.”— Reuters


UAE GDP to grow at 2.2% in 2013 Page 22 OECD: US economy picks up, China likely to slow


flydubai expands Pakistan network

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Mighty V8 AMGs take pole position for Mercedes-Benz Kuwait Page 25 Page 26

BRUSSELS: (From left) Greek Finance Minister Ioannis Stournaras arrives as Luxembourg’s Finance Minister Luc Frieden, and Dutch Finance Minister and President of the Eurogroup Council Jeroen Dijsselbloem, speak with International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde before an Eurogroup Council meeting yesterday at EU Headquarters in Brussels. — AFP

Euro-zone tackles Cyprus bailout Euro gains amid renewed concerns BRUSSELS: Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem began his first euro-zone meeting in the chair yesterday taking up a difficult debt bailout for Cyprus amid concerns that recent gains in the euro could further dampen the struggling economy. “It might be a subject at the Eurogroup meeting, quite right,” Dijsselbloem said of concerns about the euro as he went into the talks. “We will discuss as usual the economic state in the euro-zone and the issue might rise there.” Asked if the euro-zone needed an exchange rate policy, as suggested by France, he said: “I certainly won’t comment on that now; we will see whether it comes up.” The debt crisis Dijsselbloem inherits has eased greatly since

Egypt dips, Gulf mixed MIDEAST STOCK MARKETS DUBAI: Egypt’s benchmark index fell in thin trading yesterday but the Cairo bourse’s resilience in the wake of prolonged political turmoil suggests the prospect of further unrest is already priced into stocks. Other Gulf markets were mixed, with Dubai in slight retreat, neighbouring Abu Dhabi at a 34-month high and Saudi Arabia up. Egypt’s index fell 0.3 percent to 5,694 points, trimming year-to-date gains to 4.2 percent. Less than 62 million shares traded, a February low. “There is a lack of strong selling pressure as the market declines,” said Saleh Nasser of Pharos Holding in Cairo. “This should be viewed as a positive signal. Nonetheless, there is still weakness in the market as bulls are unable to push the market through important resistance at 5,9006,000.” Egypt’s new Islamist rulers are contending with a rise in militant activity and also struggling to contain street protests that have sometimes turned deadly. “Under normal circumstances, we should have seen this market falling sharply because of the uncertainty about the future of the country,” adds Nasser. “So the ability to maintain at current levels can be viewed as if the market already discounted all of these bad events.” In Saudi Arabia, the share index rose 0.3 percent, trading within a 125-point range for the past four weeks.The measure has lagged other Gulf markets over that period because of disappointing quarterly earnings from banks and petrochemicals, the kingdom’s two main sectors, according to Hesham Tuffaha, a Riyadh-based fund manager. “Investors are willing to take on risk and trade the midand small-cap stocks, but are keeping away from the bluechips,” said Tuffaha. He said valuations were low relative to historical norms, predicting the Saudi bourse would again pick up by late February in a catch-up play with other Gulf and global markets. “As other markets rally, Saudi becomes more attractive in terms of valuations,” said Tuffaha. “You can get dividend yields of about 6 percent and that will bring investors back to the Saudi market.” In December, Saudi announced a record budget for 2013, but doubts remain over whether the planned spending hike will translate into higher corporate profits. “People are over-estimating the amount of money the Saudi government will spend and the impact of this,” said a Dubai-based senior trader who spoke on condition of anonymity. He distinguished between government spending to boost consumption - putting more money in regular Saudis’ pockets - and capital spending that would increase industrial output. “More money is going on consumption spending and that doesn’t translate into anything like the earnings per share growth (EPS) that people had hoped for,” said the trader. “The market doesn’t like EPS growth based on volume expansion, but on pricing power.” The Saudi banking index climbed 0.5 percent, trimming its losses since Jan. 12’s four-month high to 3 percent. — Reuters

the European Central Bank vowed last year to intervene in the markets to tame borrowing costs and EU leaders agreed tough steps to bolster the euro’s defenses. Those measures seem to have done the job, even leading to a rise in the recent weeks which has sparked fears it could make euro-zone exports less competitive and so undercut badly needed growth. French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici called last week for a debate on the euro’s exchange rate and wants the euro-zone to consider setting a target level, which the ECB would then have to defend. “Exchange rates must reflect economic fundamentals ... (they) must not be subject to the whims of speculators,” Moscovici said as he arrived in Brussels.

“I think that we ought to argue at the international level for a coordinated approach.” But Germany, Europe’s paymaster, and the ECB are uncomfortable with such talk given that the central bank’s mandate is to ensure price stability, not manage the forex markets. “For Germany a strong euro is a sign of returning confidence in the euro,” one EU diplomat said. Luxembourg’s Luc Frieden made a similar point. “A strong euro is the best sign that it will survive,” Frieden said, recalling how at the height of the debt crisis, the currency’s future had appeared in doubt several times. “I am very happy that we have succeeded in stabilising the currency,” he added. Dijsselbloem said ministers would try to

make progress on Cyprus but that with presidential elections there shortly, a final decision would not be made until March. Cyprus has asked for a bailout of about 17 billion euros ($23 billion), equal to its annual economic output, but there are deep misgivings about its banking system and money laundering. At the same time, there are concerns about letting Cyprus fail as that could badly compromise the credibility of the euro and threaten recent progress. Asked about reports that some private creditors would controversially see their investments written down as part of a Cyprus deal, Dijsselbloem said ministers will “look at the various instruments we might have to use.”—AFP



UAE GDP to grow at 2.2% in 2013 NBK GCC ECONOMIC BRIEF

QUETTA: A Pakistani pedestrian walks past the currency exchange shop in Quetta yesterday. The Pakistani rupee yesterday sank to an all-time low against the US dollar over forex reserve fears as the country repaid $146 million to the International Monetary Fund. — AFP

US asks Egypt to move fast to fix economy CAIRO: The United States has urged Egypt to move fast to agree a loan deal with the IMF, reform its energy sector and guarantee investors against “arbitrary acts” to avert a deeper slide in its economy. In unusually blunt comments, US Ambassador Ann Patterson said Egypt’s government and opposition must stop ignoring economic problems and work together to fix them. “The most catastrophic path is for the government and the political leadership of the country - whether in power or in opposition - to avoid decisions, to show no leadership, to ignore the economic situation of the country,” she said in a speech delivered in Alexandria on Sunday, according to a text posted on the embassy’s website. “ The talks with the International Monetary Fund need to be brought to closure.” Egypt has been negotiating for months on a $4.8 billion IMF loan but talks have been repeatedly delayed due to the Muslim Brotherhood-led government’s reluctance to cut goods and fuel subsidies on which poor Egyptians rely, an IMF source said. Prime Minister Hisham Qandil met IMF chief Christine Lagarde in Davos, Switzerland, last month and said an IMF mission would return to Cairo within two weeks to conclude an agreement, but there has been no sign of a resumption of talks and the government has yet to issue an updated fiscal plan. Patterson highlighted Egypt’s dwindling foreign reserves and a growing reliance on imported food and energy as warning signs, noting that these were key determinants of social stability. “Egypt’s numbers paint a bleak picture,” she said. “Currency reserves are at a critical level, roughly $14 billion or three months’ worth of imports.” The reserves are kept afloat only due to regular injections of cash by Qatar and Turkey, she said, noting that a black market for dollars was growing and the exchange rate “needs to respect fundamental laws of economics”. The falling value of the pound, which has lost about 8 percent against the dol-

lar since Dec. 31, pushed annual consumer price inflation up to 6.3 percent in January. Prices climbed by 1.7 percent in the month - the biggest monthly jump since the overthrow of former President Hosni Mubarak two years ago. “ These numbers do not take into account the billions that the government is in arrears to oil companies,” Patterson said. London-based consultancy Executive Analysis puts Egypt’s accumulated debt to oil and gas producers at $9 billion. As a result, several foreign energy producers have cut production in Egypt or are refusing to invest in raising output or to issue letters of credit, industry sources said. Senior liberal opposition politician Amr Moussa, a former Arab League chief, called for the government and opposition to agree to postpone parliamentary elections expected in April for six months and work together on the economy. Citing the falling currency reserves and stumbling IMF talks, Moussa called in a statement for an urgent “reordering of priorities to mobilize all capacities to confront the present serious situation”. He suggested that President Mohamed Morsi’s government and the opposition, made up of liberal, social democratic, leftist and Salafi parties, agree on a four-point initiative to restore public finances, reschedule the energy debt, revive tourism and investment and shield the poor from extra burdens. Moussa said Egypt needed a $12 billion credit line, with money from the IMF, World Bank, United States, European Union and other friendly states, listing Russia, Japan, China, South Korea, Singapore, Turkey, Malaysia and Indonesia. He suggested the energy debt should be handled by negotiating a rescheduling of Egypt’s arrears so it could resume exports and stop importing expensive oil and gas. There was no immediate response from the government to his call, which political sources said was expected to be endorsed by several other opposition leaders in the coming days. — Reuters

KUWAIT: Real GDP growth in the UAE is expected to grow at 2.7% and 2.2% in 2013 and 2014 respectively, with real non-oil GDP forecast to grow by 4% for the next two years - well below its 2001-08 annual average of 9%. Meanwhile, inflation in the Emirate is expected to remain the lowest in the region, averaging 1-2% in 2013 and 2014. Par ts of the economy - notably trade, tourism and business services - now seem to be doing well, helped by the country’s strong trade links with emerging markets, high quality infrastructure and possibly a boost to competitiveness from a sustained spell of low inflation. However, legacy issues from the financial crisis continue to blight the banking sector, notably the slow pace of restructuring at large government-related corporates. Meanwhile, fiscal consolidation has seen public sector investment heavily scaled back. The Dubai real estate sector has seen some signs of revival, with rents, prices and transaction volumes all reported to be rising in some areas. A proper ty market revival would improve the outlook for banks, which still face asset quality pressures from their real estate loans. Central Bank data shows that real estate loans accounted for 21% of banks’ total loan books in September 2012. Despite recent signs of improvement, transaction volumes and prices remain at least 45% below their boomtime peaks, the supply overhang remains considerable and any improvement in bank property lending is likely to be gradual. UAE crude oil output hit a modern day high in September 2012, at 2.65 million barrels per day. As with other major Gulf oil exporters, output is expected to ease back over the next two years as OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) responds to softer global oil market fundamentals by cutting back its production to maintain oil prices at close to $100 per barrel. In annual average

terms, this leaves oil output unchanged in 2013, followed by a 2% fall in 2014. Affected by this, overall real GDP growth is seen at a modest 2.7% in 2013, and lower still in 2014, even if - ‘on the ground’ - economic conditions are improving. Inflation is set to have come in at just 0.7% on average in 2012 and will likely remain the lowest in the region in 2013. A significant drop in food price inflation - which fell from 8% y/y in January to 3.3% y/y in October - has been a major factor and helped offset a slower pace of deflation in housing rents. But even excluding these items, inflation remained tame at just 1.2% y/y in October. Weak credit conditions and below trend economic growth should help keep price pressures in check over the next year.

Consumer Price Inflation After a surge of 19% in 2011 due to government assistance to local corporates, UAE budget spending may have contracted in 2012 as bailout measures dropped out of the annual comparison. Along with strong oil revenues, this should have pushed the budget into surplus (at least including off balance sheet revenue items) for the first time in 3 years. Smaller surpluses of less than 5% of GDP are seen over the next two years as oil revenues plateau but spending edges higher. Similarly, the surplus on the current account is seen declining from 7% of GDP in 2012 to just 2% in 2014 as a stronger domestic economy sucks in imports but oil export receipts dip.

ICD fund begins talks to refinance $2bn loan DUBAI: Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) has begun talks with banks over a $2 billion loan it is scheduled to repay in August, with refinancing the most likely option, four banking sources told Reuters. The loan is the second tranche of a $6 billion facility that the sovereign fund raised just as Lehman Brothers’ collapse sent the global economy into freefall in September 2008. The first $4 billion was repaid in 2011. ICD is Dubai’s flagship investment vehicle, holding stakes in some of the emirate’s best-known companies, including Emirates airline, the bank Emirates NBD and Emaar Properties. Talks are at an early stage and more detail is expected to emerge in the coming weeks about how ICD plans to handle the loan’s maturity, the bankers said yesterday. Unfavourable market conditions meant that ICD did not take up a refinancing package for the previous $4 billion, opting instead to repay the full amount, but bankers believe that improved sentiment towards Dubai as a borrower will make the

as its chairman, controls assets worth about 108 billion dirhams ($29.4 billion), according to a bond prospectus for the Dubai government, published on Jan. 17. It rearranged its board in November, reducing it to

pricing more attractive and a new loan more likely this time. “The market is there for them if they want to refinance,” one Dubaibased banker said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “They didn’t do it last time because the pricing benchmark would have been too high - but it’s better now.” In 2011 ICD picked five banks to arrange a $2.8 billion loan that would have gone towards refinancing the $4 billion tranche due that year. After marketing the deal to other lenders, however, the fund decided to repay the full amount from internal cash resources. Dubai’s standing has improved since then and its five-year credit default swap - an indicator of how likely it is that a debt payment will be missed - has dropped from 327 basis points on Aug. 3, 2011, to 219 basis points yesterday. ICD’s Chief Executive Mohammed Al-Shaibani told Reuters in May that the fund was likely pay off the loan, though it was still evaluating its options. The fund, which has Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum

five members from six. Ahmed Humaid Al-Tayer, a former governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre and former chairman of Emirates NBD, lost his place on the board. — Reuters

Arab Spring fund flows to UAE exceed $8bn: PM DUBAI: About 30 billion dirhams ($8.2 billion) of funds have flowed into the United Arab Emirates over the past two years from countries hit by the Arab Spring uprisings, the UAE’s prime minister said yesterday. “We received 30 billion dirhams from the Arab,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid alMaktoum, who is also Dubai’s ruler, said in answer to a question by a member of the public at an open forum of government officials. Large amounts of capital fled Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Yemen and other Arab countries in search of safe havens after political and economic turmoil erupted in those

countries in early 2011. Because of its political stability and Dubai’s status as an international business centre, the UAE is known to have attracted a large share of the capital. But Sheikh Mohammed’s figure was believed to be the first public estimate of the amount by a top official. Sheikh Mohammed added, “We invested much more than that in such countries.” The oil-rich UAE has pledged billions of dollars in aid to help stabilize cash-strapped Arab countries since the uprisings began, and UAE companies have shown interest in investing in North Africa. — 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 .4380000 .3780000 .3070000 .2800000 .2880000 .0040000 .0020000 .0762570 .7429510 .3900000 .0720000 .7283310 .0420000 CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES .28100500 .4406300 .3813010 .3094920 .2821790 .0511270 .0443400 .2901140 .0362420 .2269640 .0029980 .0000000 .0000000 .0000000 .0000000 .0765490 .7457870 .0000000 .0749670 .7302850 .0000000

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

ASIAN COUNTRIES 3.048 5.266 2.882 2.231 3.303 230.050 36.425 3.549

.2840000 .4510000 .3870000 .3160000 .2880000 .3000000 .0067500 .0035000 .0770240 .7504180 .4050000 .0760000 .7356510 .0470000 .2831500 .4439230 .3841500 .3118050 .2842870 .0515090 .0446720 .2922820 .0365120 .2286600 .0030200 .0053530 .0022530 .0029030 .0036390 .0771210 .7513600 .4004950 .0755270 .7357410 .0070220

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

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

6.934 9.485 0.271 0.273 GCC COUNTRIES 75.350 77.639 733.920 750.500 76.941

Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 282.450 Euro 380.880 Sterling Pound 449.660 Canadian dollar 284.730 Turkish lire 159.590 Swiss Franc 311.410 Australian dollar 298.500 US Dollar Buying 281.250 GOLD 311.000 157.000 81.500

SELL DRAFT 295.69 287.83 315.97 386.11 281.85 445.33 3.08 3.570 5.298 2.239 3.327 2.884

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

77.000 747.000 46.750 398.000 733.000 78.500 75.400

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd

ARAB COUNTRIES Egyptian Pound - Cash 42.450 Egyptian Pound - Transfer 41.977 Yemen Riyal/for 1000 1.318 Tunisian Dinar 182.400 Jordanian Dinar 398.940 Lebanese Lira/for 1000 1.896 Syrian Lier 3.070 Morocco Dirham 34.445

20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

76.81 750.47 41.98 401.54 733.54 77.83 75.37

SELL CASH 296.000 286.000 313.000 385.80 282.000 445.000 3.750 3.800 5.350 2.520 3.450 2.933

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 295.100 751.540 3.970 285.300 555.000 46.000 51.700 167.800 42.350 382.100 37.130 5.370 0.032 0.161 0.246

SELLDRAFT 293.600 751.540 3.553 283.800

229.800 42.029 380.600 36.980 5.268 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

3.150 400.470 0.191 96.020 46.300 4.340 239.700 1.830 52.200 734.060 3.000 7.220 78.170 75.450 229.790 33.640 2.692 450.500 45.100 311.800 3.400 9.810 198.263 77.050 283.000 1.360

3.320 238.200

733.880 2.889 6.946 77.740 75.450 229.790 33.840 2.233 448.500 310.300 3.400 9.680 76.950 282.600

GOLD 1,800.750

10 Tola

Sterling Pound US Dollar

400.440 0.190 96.020

TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 448.500 282.600

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) 282.200 380.000 448.000 283.100 3.055 5.260 41.980 2.232 3.560 6.935 2.882 751.100 76.850 75.350



Economic diversification from within The road less taken Dr Sami Mahroum KUWAIT: Economic diversification is high on the policy agenda of the GCC countries as evident by the billions of dollars earmarked for that goal. Like elsewhere, the urge for economic diversification in the GCC is driven by the desire to lessen economic dependency on any particular industry, especially the oil and gas industry. In fact, this concern is widely shared especially among small countries that are very cautious not to fall prey to the “banana republic” syndrome- i.e. countries that are overly dependent on the export of a single product- or to be tormented by the booms and bust of natural resources revenues. Nonetheless, economic diversification is an undertaking that is both costly and risky. The stories about the failure of massive projects aimed at the creation of new industries in specific regions and in targeted fields are abundant. In fact it is the frequent failure of such projects- for example in Latin America, India and Turkey- that have led much of the world to lose interest in ‘industrial policy’ as an instrument of economic development. Successful economic diversification experiences can be broadly classified into two groups. Firstly, there is the group of countries that have successfully diversified their economies by playing homes for ‘footloose’ manufacturing and outsourced services. These are countries like China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and Vietnam among others.

The second group is countries that have managed to successfully diversify by upgrading their existing industries introducing new products and services into new markets and hence diversifying their economies within their comparative advantages. This would be countries like Brazil, Chile, and Malaysia. The latter group adopted a less risky approach to diversification by considering the relatedness of existing infrastructure and natural advantages to new economic activities. This approach can be very interesting to the GCC countries. Taking existing industries that had gained momentum as a starting point help narrow the trial and error range and reduce the cost of failure by creating synergies with existing infrastructure and available resources. Such approach has helped make Brazil, for example, one of the world’s largest producers of ethanol, which was based on their pre-existing sugar industry. The Brazilian ethanol experience is indeed a very interesting one. Due to Brazil’s suitable climate for growing sugar cane, the country has been the leader in sugar production several times in history. Brazil’s efforts to use ethanol as a fuel started in the late 1920’s, where it was experimented with as a component to be mixed with gasoline and was eventually adopted as a complete fuel substitute in the 1970’s. Brazil’s choice to start a new industry based on a pre-existing industry not only utilized the existing infrastructure and supply chain of the sugar industry but also diversified

the products produced from the sugar cane crop. Brazil’s government experimentation with ethanol and eventual adoption of a main source of energy has incentivized companies such as Volkswagens, and later other companies, to innovate in creating ethanol powered engines. The Brazilian case shows that it might be more effective to choose new industries for which a country has natural advantages like environment or location. Another successful case of economic diversification within existing industrial structures is the Chilean salmon industry. Chile is currently the 2ndlargest producer of salmon; despite the fact that salmon is not a local fish. This goes back to its existing legacy as a fishing nation owed to the country’s long coast. However, the traditional Chilean fish industry was aimed merely at local consumption. The industry had small space for mass production let alone export. In that time, the government had started an initiative to diversify the economy by creating organizations to identify the country’s potentials and leverage them for economic benefit. One of these organizations is “Fundacian Chile”, which identified the advantage of the Chilean cold water and long coast by introducing salmon fish. The species was already produced for export in many countries such as Norway and Finland. Soon, Chile became one of the largest salmon producers in the world. In the mid 2000’s an epidemic hit the

salmon fish all over the world including Chile. Because of the relatedness of salmon industry to the old fishing practices, traditional fish species created an emergency economic alternative when the virus effected the salmon production. This shows the benefit of a having a related industry can be beneficial in times of fluctuation in demand or supply of the industries in the same field. A similar story of diversification based on existing industrial structures can be found on the other side of the world in Malaysia. The country’s climate and abundance of water resources has enabled it to become a major producer of rubber. However, the fall in rubber prices has urged the country to diversify its agricultural production. Consequently, an Agricultural Diversification Program was introduced by the Malaysian government in the 1960’s in order to reduce the country’s economic over-reliance on rubber and tin. This resulted in the introduction of oil palm, which was based on the country’s pre-existing experience from the long history of growing rubber trees. In a short time the palm oil became a major product in the Malaysian economy. The industry has grown to cover wide areas in Malaysia eventually expanding to Indonesia to maintain the burgeoning industry. Malaysiais now a world leader in the use of palm oil in a wide range of industries including biofuel and pharmaceutical glycerin. These three examples show that diversifying an economy can happen within existing indus-

trial structures. This approach can be a risk minimizer as it pursues new economic activities within existing industrial eco-systems. Furthermore, new industries are born with the immediate advantage of being able to tap into existing pool of resources, supply chains and infrastructure. In the GCC, the long history with the energy sector as well as the construction sector provides a basis for many new industries. Most prominently, given the region’s development in green technology research, green construction seems to be a smart direction. The region has a clear demand for reduction of energy use in buildings, especially that the high temperature season can last for many months. The region’s rapid urban expansion could provide a high demand for green construction research, which could accelerate the development of green building technologies. The GCC region has already taken some steps towards that end such as “Estidama” (Arabic for sustainability) rating system in Abu Dhabi and QSAS sustainability rating system in Qatar. Nevertheless, there is a need for further advocacy of the green construction industry by the public sector. Hence, introducing supportive policies and creating effective facilitating bodies can be fundamental in providing momentum to the green construction industry, making the GCC region the pioneer in future buildings field. — Dr Sami Mahroum, Director, INSEAD Innovation & Policy Initiative, INSEAD Abu Dhabi

OECD: US economy picks up, China likely to slow UK in-house auditors face more scrutiny PARIS: Economic activity in the United States is rising, in the euro-zone it is steadying, but in China and India the growth trend is slowing, leading indicators from the OECD showed yesterday. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said that its index of leading indicators suggested that economic growth in the United States was “firming”. Activity in Britain was also firming but at a slower pace than seemed to be the case a month ago, the OECD said in its monthly report on composite leading indicators which are considered a reliable pointer to activity in six months’ time. In Japan and Brazil signs were emerging “of growth picking up.” For the 17 members of the euro-zone, and notably in Germany and Italy, the leading indicators “point to a stabilisation in growth prospects” but in France “growth is expected to remain weak.” The OECD, which is a policy forum for 34 advanced economies but also monitors some other important economies, said that China and India appeared to be on a growth path but “below trend compared with more positive signals in last month’s assessment.” The indicators for Canada and Russia continued to signal growth that was below trend, the OECD said.

Internal auditors, under fire from regulators for failing to spot how banks were rigging the Libor interest rate, should report directly to company boards and have enough resources to do the job, a British industry body said yesterday. Auditors employed by companies to assess if big risks have been properly identified, controlled and reported, are not subject to direct external regulation and have been discredited by a string of banking scandals. Internal audit is separate from the independent, external book checking that listed companies must undergo. Some internal auditors say privately that regulatory scrutiny will help strengthen their role and make them more “relevant”. A new draft code for the industry, written by the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors in consultation with the Bank of England and the Financial Services Authority (FSA), goes out to public consultation until mid-April. The draft code, designed specifically to give guidance to the financial industry, says internal auditors should not be barred from assessing the management of any risk and their scope should be unlimited. “To ensure its independence and authority, the primary reporting line of internal audit should be to the chairman of the board of directors, not to the chief executive,” the draft says.

Internal audit should also be adequately resourced, it says. Many of the changes to the existing code reflect new guidance from the global Basel Committee on Banking Supervision issued in June last year. Britain’s accounting regulator, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), started a separate public consultation yesterday over when to ban external accounting firms from using internal auditors in their work. “Permitting the direct use of internal auditors involves agreeing lower independence standards for some members of the audit engagement team...,” said Nick Land, an FRC board member. “Accordingly, the FRC has concluded that this should no longer be allowed.” Last week, Royal Bank of Scotland was fined $612 million pounds for rigging the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, for several years under the nose of internal auditors. In 2011, the bank’s internal auditors told the FSA that issues raised by a review of Libor setting were being addressed and “adequate systems and controls” were in place. In December, the FSA fined Swiss bank UBS for similar abuses, saying the “routine and widespread manipulation of submissions was not detected by compliance, nor was it detected by group internal audit, which undertook five audits of the relevant business area”.—Agencies

BRUSSELS: French Economy, Finance and Foreign Trade Minister, Pierre Moscovici (right) speaks with Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos Jurados before an Eurogroup Council meeting yesterday at EU Headquarters in Brussels. —AFP

Brussels approves French aid to Peugeot temporarily BRUSSELS: The European Commission authorized France yesterday temporarily to rescue car-maker PSA Peugeot Citroen to the tune of a six-month 1.2-billion-euro guarantee. But the EU executive said in a statement that it wanted to see within six months a restructuring plan for the entire group. Approval of “this guarantee was necessary to ensure access to the market of Banque PSA Finance (the banking arm) and avoid contagion of the French banking system that would affect banks’ cost of financing,” the statement said. Global sales by France’s biggest auto company and Europe’s second-biggest, dropped 16 percent last year to below 3.0 million units, as the firm fell victim to

slumping demand in Europe where the company makes about 60 percent of its turnover. Its credit arm BPF offers finance to potential buyers but has been unable to refinance itself due to the group’s difficulties. The EU statement added that “given the aid benefits not only Banque PSA Finance but the PSA group in its entirety, France will have to present to the Commission a restructuring plan for the PSA group. “The Commission on this basis will be able to take a final decision on the aid.” The group last week announced a massive writedown of 4.7 billion euros ($6.3 billion) for 2012, raising speculation that it might need further state help, and is to announce annual earnings this week. —AFP

Russia pipeline boss signals battle with private traders

Starwood Hotels to debut Four Points by Sheraton in Saudi RIYADH: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, has signed an agreement with Khaldia Towers Company, a partnership between Al Jedaie Group and Al Hokair Group, to operate a Four Points by Sheraton hotel in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The Four Points by Sheraton Riyadh Khaldia will open in the second quarter of 2013, marking the entry of Starwood’s Four Points by Sheraton brand into Saudi Arabia. The hotel will feature 376 guest rooms including 138 suites, three restaurants and lounges, and an ultra-modern meeting and event space, including 18 purpose-built meeting rooms along with a spa and fitness centre. “Together with Khaldia Towers Company, we are delighted to introduce the Four Points by Sheraton brand to the Kingdom and further expand our footprint in the country,” said Roeland Vos, President Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa & Middle East. “As Saudi Arabia continues to attract business travellers and religious tourism, the time is right to extend the Starwood portfolio across the country.”

Othman S Abahussain, General Manager of Khaldia Towers Company added, “We are excited about opening our first hotel with Starwood and introducing the Four Points by Sheraton brand in Saudi Arabia. There is a strong demand for mid-market hotel brands in the country and we believe Four Points by Sheraton has a great reputation with business travellers globally.” Starwood’s Four Points by Sheraton brand’s ‘best for business’ approach provides travellers with everything that matters the most with stylish design and an uncomplicated friendly approach to hospitality and service - all at a great value. Four Points by Sheraton Riyadh Khaldia will be located 20 minutes from the business areas of Riyadh and 45 minutes from Riyadh King Khalid International Airport. The hotel will also feature all of the brand’s defining elements, including the signature Four Points by Sheraton Four Comfort bed and free Wi-Fi in all public areas, reflecting the brand’s promise and insight into the needs of today’s traveller.

“Growing the Four Points by Sheraton brand in key Middle Eastern markets, where we see continued demand for affordable yet innovative lodging options is core to our development strategy,” said Bart Carnahan, Senior Vice President Acquisitions & Development, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa & Middle East. “With one of the strongest pipelines in the Starwood brand portfolio and with more than 170 hotels around the world, Four Points by Sheraton has solidified its place as Starwood’s third largest brand with the second-biggest global pipeline.” Starwood today operates close to 50 hotels and resorts across the Middle East under eight of the company’s nine distinct lifestyle brands including: The Luxury Collection, St. Regis, Sheraton, Westin, W Hotels, Le MÈridien, Four Points by Sheraton and Aloft. With the opening of Four Points by Sheraton Riyadh Khaldia, Starwood will operate a total of 12 hotels in Saudi Arabia with additional five new hotels to in the country over the next three years.

Reliance awards $1bn contract to Ericsson MUMBAI: Indian mobile phone firm Reliance Communications (RCom) yesterday announced it has awarded a $1-billion, eightyear contract to Swedish telecom equipment-maker Ericsson to run some of its networks. Ericsson will manage the daily operations of RCom’s wireline and wireless networks in northern and western India, the companies said in a joint statement. The awarding of the contract follows a similar RCom deal announced last month with US-French telecom equipment supplier Alcatel-Lucent, to deliver voice and data communication services to RCom’s networks in southern and eastern India. —AFP

MOSCOW: The head of Russia’s state oil pipeline monopoly, Transneft, signalled yesterday it was lining up for battle against private magnates who built their fortunes around the company’s export infrastructure. The moves described by Transneft chief Nikolai Tokarev, depicted by Russia’s media as a former KGB spy who served with Vladimir Putin in Germany, target traders who have sold Russian oil to Europe using Transneft pipelines and have won lucrative contracts to build and renovate its vast network. Russia’s biggest oil company, Rosneft, under Kremlin ally Igor Sechin, had already struck at traders operating on Transneft’s “Druzhba” pipeline, which extends from Russia to Germany, by signing several direct deals to supply customers such as Poland’s PKN Orlen. “A team of traders has taken shape over the years who are middlemen between sellers and buyers. Usually they are dug in at the border, and that was how it was until recently,” Tokarev told the Kommersant business newspaper in an interview. “LUKOIL battled them for nearly a year by not giving them any volumes,” he said, referring to Russia’s second-largest crude oil producer. “None of these little structures will remain. The final victory over that gang is near.” By taking business away from those traders, Rosneft’s move - announced on Feb. 1 - already marked a significant redistribution of control over some of the largest, most stable flows of crude oil to Europe.Among those to lose business on the Druzhba is Summa, whose trading arm Souz did not receive its usual volumes in January. Tokarev also said the state monopoly

had moved to reduce the influence of the Summa Group, the vehicle of magnate Ziyavuddin Magomedov, at Russia’s largest port group, Novorossiisk Commercial Sea Port Group. State oilmen such as Tokarev and former military translator Sechin, both of whom worked with Putin in St Petersburg and moved on to government in Moscow as Putin rose to become president, look set to challenge Magomedov’s ambitions to buy state shares in the port group. Like Putin, both Tokarev and Sechin project themselves as staunch defenders of Russia’s vital interests through their careful husbandry of its vast natural resources and, increasingly, its infrastructure. In a profile by the Vedomosti newspaper yesterday, Tokarev was portrayed as a father figure to Putin during their time working for the KGB in the German city of Dresden. “Almost all the residents in Dresden lived around one stairwell. Everyone left their doors open and everyone was constantly visiting,” a source who served with the two men was quoted as saying. “Once we were at Tokarev’s and a pale, shy, quiet guy came in. “This is Vova,” Tokarev said”, the source recounted, using the diminutive for Vladimir and referring to Putin. “Someone said, Vova, sit down, have a drink. ‘No,’ Tokarev said, ‘Vova doesn’t drink’.” Russia privatised its oil industry, the world’s largest, under late President Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s, but around 40 percent of crude oil output will be in Rosneft’s control following the sale of BP’s Russian joint venture to state player Rosneft. State commodity export infrastructure is now set for privatisation in the second round of major state sell-offs aimed at raising $20 billion for the budget. —Reuters



Oil hubs near the mouth of the Gulf DUBAI: Oil storage capacity just outside the Strait of Hormuz has become increasingly important for oil companies which ship fuel to Asia, especially after Iranian threats last year to block the world’s most important oil shipping route. Fujairah, on the east coast of OPEC member United Arab Emirates, has grown in importance as an oil trading hub with the opening of a pipeline last year that allows the UAE to export most of its crude without having to sail tankers through Hormuz. Securing strategic oil storage space at Fujairah has been a top priority for oil producers and trading houses, although the pace of new capacity coming online has lost pace over the past year.

Fujairah also faces rising competition from the port of Sohar, down the coast in small non-OPEC producer Oman, which is also expanding its facilities by upgrading a refinery. Several oil traders have already secured oil storage space in Sohar. PORT OF FUJAIRAH, UAE Oil storage capacity in Fujairah reached just over 4 million cubic metres last year, according to port data and is expected to double before 2016. * Vitol, the world’s largest oil trader, has around 1.170 mcm of storage at the port through Fujairah Refinery Company Ltd (FRCL), which is owned by Vitol Tank Terminals International (VTTI) and 10 percent by the Fujairah government.

* Trade sources say all of the oil products stored in its 47 tanks are owned by Vitol. * Vopak Horizon Fujairah Limited (VHFL), a joint venture between the Netherlands-based Royal Vopak, Dubai’s Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC), the government of Fujairah and Kuwait’s Independent Petroleum Group added 600,000 cubic metres of capacity last May as part of is sixth phase expansion. * Currently, the preparations for the seventh phase are undergoing which is due to bring another 855,000 cubic meters of storage in 2014. The construction has not yet started. * Vopak Horizon has a total of 2.1 mcm of storage and trade sources say all tanks are leased out.

Leading commodities and oil traders like Trafigura, Total’s Totsa as well as PetroChina which has become increasingly active in the Gulf trading market last year, are among the tenants of Vopak’s tanks. * In the latest expansion added 20 new tanks for storing fuel oil and clean petroleum products. BP has 200,000 cubic metres of storage of this while Phillips 66, independent US refiner as a result of ConocoPhillips spin-off, has 160,000 and Litasco, the trading arm of Russian oil company Lukoil, has 240,000 cubic metres. * UAE-based trader Gulf Petrochem’s 412,000 cubic metres of oil storage came online in midJanuary 2013. * UAE’s fuel retailer Emarat currently has 263,000 cubic metres of oil storage capacity following its expansion in 2011. With the addition of 10 more tanks the company now has a total of 13 tanks for gas oil, gasoline and jet fuel. * Azeri national oil company Socar’s trading arm has a plan to build 641,000 cubic metres of storage capacity in a joint-venture with Swiss trading house Aurora Progress and the government of Fujairah. It will consist of 20 tanks for clean and dirty products once the full project completed. The first phase with 114,000 cubic metres came online in March 2012 and the second phase with 232,000 cubic meters is due to come online this year and it will include clean tanks. * Global marine fuel supplier Chemoil Energy has storage of around 90,000 cubic metres at the port and it is planning to add 580,000 cubic meters this year. * Singapore-based Concord Energy and China’s Sinopec are expected to start building oil storage in Fujairah this year. The first phase with 880,000 cubic meters of capacity is due to come online next year, while the remaining 245,000 cubic meters is scheduled for 2015. * Dubai government-owned fuel retailer ENOC has oil storage through its joint venture with VHFL and it also owns 217,000 cubic meters of capacity at 11 tanks through its subsidiary Horizon Terminals. * PetroChina has sublet clean storage at Fujairah from Vopak, after initial plans to build from scratch with Vopak were scrapped. SOHAR, OMAN The Port of Sohar, a deep-sea port in the Sultanate of Oman is managed by Sohar Industrial Port Company, a joint venture between the government of Oman and the Dutch port of Rotterdam.

It has 1.285 million cubic meters of oil storage, all allocated for clean products and all currently leased out and full, trade sources said. Of the total, Gunvor has around 180,000 cubic metres of storage for distillates and gasoline while Shell has a total of 485,000 cubic metres, of which 325,000 cubic metres is for gas-to-liquids (GTL). Oman Trading International (OTI) has around 200,000 cubic metres of storage for light and middle distillates while Glencore’s 114,000 cubic metres of storage is mostly for naphtha and gasoil. Oman Aromatics, part of Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company (ORPIC) also leases 303,000 cubic metres of storage space at the port. Sohar is also home to a 116,000-barrels-perday refinery, whose capacity Oman wants to boost by some 50,000 bpd to 60,000 bpd by 2016. Traders say there are also additional storage facilities at the refinery. JEBEL ALI, UAE * Although inside the Strait of Hormuz, and so lacking the strategic benefits of Gulf of Oman sites, the UAE’s Jebel Ali port is a major regional products blending hub. * It is also an important fuel storage site with over 3 million cubic metre (mcm) of capacity at the port near Dubai. * ENOC is one of the biggest storage owners at the port with its 1.2 mcm of capacity. * Emoil, a joint venture between Trafigura, UAE’s fuel retailer Emarat and BP, has a total of 228,000 cubic metres of storage for blending and storing gasoline products in a total of nine tanks. Emarat holds 60 per cent while BP and Trafigura hold 20 per cent, respectively. * Emdad, a joint venture between Emarat, Air BP and Shell Trading. Private Limited, has an aviation fuel storage facility with a capacity of 155,000 cubic metres. * Noble Group has taken up about 200,000 cubic metres of clean storage at the port. * UAE-based traders Fal Oil has 80,000 cubic metres and Gulf Refining has 370,000. Star Energy Oil Tanking, a joint venture between Hamburg based Oiltanking and Abu Dhabi based Star Energy Group has 920,000 cubic metres of storage. * Dubai Supply Authority, responsible for supplying the energy needs of utilities and industries in Dubai, also has oil storage tanks at the Jebel Ali port. — Reuters

Fujairah oil storage capacity to rise DUBAI: Oil storage capacity in the United Arab Emirates port of Fujairah is expected to rise by 2 million cubic metres (mcm) this year to just over 6 mcm, port data shows. The port outside the Strait of Hormuz, a vital Gulf oil export route which Iran has threatened to block, has seen a boom in storage facility building since late 2009. But the pace of construction has slowed over the last year, several traders said, with the looming threat of overcapacity and lower forward prices for oil making storage unattractive. Fujairah had 4.07 mcm of oil storage capacity at the end of 2012, port figures show, with Vopak Horizon Fujairah account-

ing for about half. Another 2 mcm is expected to come online in 2013, including capacity additions from existing companies such as the Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC), GPS Chemoil and Socar Aurora, along with new port investors such as Gulf Petrochem. According to data supplied by port authorities, another 2.3 mcm of storage will be added when the seventh phase of Vopak Horizon’s expansion project comes online and Singapore-based Concord Energy and China’s Sinopec finish their 880,000 cubic metre project. By 2015, Fujairah’s oil storage capacity is expected to rise to almost 9 mcm, according to the port. — Reuters

ATHENS: Workers at a psychiatric hospital hold the metal shutter at the entrance of the Health Ministry during a protest in Athens yesterday. — AP

Greeks snatch urban metal to pass crisis THESSALONIKI: When Greece adopted the euro, it poured billions into modernizing its infrastructure, building spectacular bridges, highways, and a brand new rail transit network for Athens. Now, locked in recession and crushed by debt, Greeks are targeting many of those projects, gouging out the metal and selling it for scrap to feed ravenous demand driven by China and India. Police say they now arrest an average of four metal thieves every day, compared to a few cases every month before the crisis started in late 2009. They are accused of stealing industrial cable, power-line transformers and other metal objects - triggering blackouts and massive train delays. The profile of the metal thief is also changing, authorities say, from gypsies and immigrants living on the margins of society to mainstream Greeks who have fallen on hard times. As European countries dip in and out of recession, global demand for metals has remained high due to the industrial rise of emerging powers, making stolen cables and metal used in infrastructure a growth market worldwide. Some 3,635 people have been arrested in Greece for metal theft between the start of 2010 and August 2012, according to the public order ministry. Ministry officials said they did not have comparative figures for previous years, as cases were too infrequent to keep data on that specific crime category. But they confirm the robberies are becoming both more frequent and more brazen, a sign of the desperate times.

The capital’s 9-year-old light rail system has been a prime magnet for metal robbers, with at least five major disruptions reported in the past six months due to cable theft that forced passengers to hop on and off trains as diesel replacements were needed. The trend has had lethal consequences: In early January, the body of a 35-year-old man was found near Athens beside the tracks of a suburban rail system that services the capital’s airport. He had been electrocuted while cutting live cables, police said. Roadside crash barriers, storm-drain covers, heavy factory doors, as well as mining equipment, irrigation machinery and even cemetery planters made of metal have all gone missing in and around Thessaloniki, the country’s second largest city, amid concerns that previously law-abiding Greeks are turning to crime in growing numbers. In northern Greece, rogue merchants have an additional advantage: A 1,228-kilometer (763 mile) border with four countries that makes it easier for them to dodge stepped-up police checks on local scrap yards. Police near the frontier with Turkey last month arrested 18- and 19-year-old suspects accused for stripping 300 meters (nearly 1,000 feet) of cable from street lights, blacking out a stretch of newly built highway that runs across northern Greece. Recent inspections also turned up another 300 meters of stolen cable on a passenger bus headed to Albania, along with a cache of candle holders, snatched from graveyards and loaded onto small trucks, that were stopped and searched at the GreekBulgarian border. —AP



CLS 63 AMG and G 63 AMG

Alkazemi Co exhibits at AUTOMOTO 13 Mighty V8 AMGs take pole position for Mercedes-Benz Kuwait KUWAIT: A R Albisher and Z Alkazemi Co chose the best of Affalterbach to take centre stage at the latest motor show to hit Kuwait, AUTOMOTO 13, as well as a prestigious fleet that included coupÈs and powerful V8 biturbo SUVs. Taking pole position ahead of the pack for Mercedes-Benz Kuwait was the iconic SLS AMG ‘gullwing’ and superb C 63 AMG coupÈ, artfully displayed in the main atrium of Kuwait’s 360 Mall on a purpose built AMG stand designed to highlight the high performance vehicles’ stunning features. Taking place 22- 26 January, visitors to the show were also able to view the rugged luxury of the G 63 AMG, as well as the ground breaking looks and earth shattering per formance of the four door CLS 63 AMG coupÈ. Also impressing the crowds were

the unequalled abilities of the newly launched seven-seater GL 500, as well as the ML 500, matching performance with sophistication. Both SUVs boast powerful V8 Biturbo engines, space, refinement, fascinating technology and peerless capability. For those who love the thrill of the wind in their hair, the newly launched all-aluminium bodyshell SL 350 roadster capped the gleaming fleet of cars with the three pointed star. A R Albisher and Z Alkazemi Co representatives were on hand to talk people through the cars, introducing the highlights and features of each vehicle. Test drives were also able to be booked for potential buyers to experience the capabilities first hand behind the wheel. Speaking at the Mercedes-AMG dis-

play, Michael Ruehle, General Manager, Abdul R ahman Albisher & Zaid Alkazemi Co, said: “Kuwait is a market that loves and appreciates cars. As the exclusive distributor for MercedesBenz, we are proud to support new motor shows and present the very best and latest precision machines sporting the three pointed star. We k now that Kuwaitis love big powerful V8 engines and the horsepower and torque that go with them, and our AMG per formance division models take those characteristics to the extreme, all whilst providing a luxury vehicle that is equally comfortable for everyday use. For those that weren’t able to make it to our display, we welcome them to visit us in our showrooms any time for a personal consultation.”

V8 Biturbo SUVs - GL 500 and ML 500

Currency war talk caps moves in euro, shares Activity slow after Lunar New Year

LONDON: A Barclays bank branch is pictured in central London yesterday. The bank’s 2013 results statement is due to be announced today. — AFP

Risks too high to shift currency cap: Swiss CB ZURICH: The risks for Europe’s economy remain too serious to allow Switzerland’s central bank to change its currency cap, a member of its governing body said in an interview published yesterday. “The economic environment worsened again at the end of last year and the growth outlook was lowered,” Fritz Zurbruegg told the daily Aargauer Zeitung, adding that exchange-rate risks were still on the cards as a result. “For that reason, the minimum exchange rate remains key,” said Zurbruegg, who joined the governing body of Switzerland’s central bank in August 2012. In September 2011, the central bank fixed a minimum exchange rate of 1.20 Swiss francs to the euro. Investor flocked to the Swiss franc, traditionally regarded as a safe-haven currency, as worries grew over the debt crisis in the eurozone. An overvalued franc hurts the competitiveness of Swiss industry, however, thereby harming exports, and concerns about

the economic impact drove the central bank to step in in 2011. But with the recent revival of the longembattled euro, the Swiss franc has lost strength, trading over recent days at close to 1.23. That has fuelled speculation that the central bank could raise the floor. Zurbruegg declined to say whether the bank was considering such a move, saying the minimum rate remained an important. “We introduced the minimum rate to stem the rapid, major appreciation of the Swiss franc. We achieved that goal and we defused the risk of a deflationary trend,” he said. He said that the Swiss franc nonetheless remained overvalued against the euro. “The minimum exchange rate is an exceptional measure, not a tool for adjusting monetary policy,” he said. “The minimum exchange rate remains the most appropriate instrument for price stability in the foreseeable future,” he underlined. — AFP

LONDON: The euro hovered just above a twoweek low against the dollar while world shares lost ground yesterday as growing talk of currency wars unsettled investors. US stock index futures suggested Wall Street may add to its gains from Friday, but low volume and the absence of any major economic news could make trading volatile. Activity was light across all major markets after the Lunar New Year holiday shut most Asian financial centres, with the focus on an upcoming meeting of euro area finance ministers. French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said the issue of the euro’s recent strength would be discussed at the meeting and he called on members of the 17-nation currency bloc to cooperate more closely on exchange rate policy. The comments come after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi suggested last week that further strength could lead to an interest rate cut. French President Francois Hollande has also urged the euro-zone to set an exchange rate target. “The idea of being interventionist in currencies is not particularly new. But at the moment, because some of the bigger players are at the forefront, it feels like a much more pressing issue for markets,” said Daragh Maher, FX strategist at HSBC. The Group of Seven major industrial nations may be about to add its weight to the debate, with two G20 officials telling Reuters it was considering a statement this week reaffirming a commitment to “market-determined” exchange rates. The euro edged up 0.2 percent to $1.3390, having touched a two-week low of $1.3325 earlier in Asian trade as it extended a sell-off that has

knocked around 2.5 percent from its dollar value since the beginning of February. The euro made bigger gains against the yen and the British pound, though traders said this was demand from investors keen to buy the single currency after its broad retreat last week. Some analysts believe the euro’s fall since the beginning of the month was also justified by factors such as weakness in the region’s economy, uncertainty surrounding political scandals in Spain and Italy, signs of tensions between France and Germany, and worries about a Cyprus bailout. The fear of competitive devaluations by major economies has been building since Japan’s new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe began putting pressure on its central bank to take aggressive easing measures to revive the nation’s economy. Japan’s move followed a renewed commitment by the US Federal Reserve to aggressively ease monetary policy, which also weakens the dollar, to bolster the US economic recovery. Talk of a currency war was further heightened on Monday when Asian Development Bank president Haruhiko Kuroda, a front runner to be the next Bank of Japan governor, voiced his support for a weaker yen. While on Friday Venezuela devalued its currency by 32 percent. Analysts said the concerns were likely to come to a head later in the week as the G20 prepares to meet in Moscow. “The prospect of an international currency war has become an increasingly common topic of discussion in the press recently. As policy makers gather for the G20 this week, we expect this chatter to increase,” said Sara Yates, Global Currency

Strategist at J.P. Morgan Private Bank. Equity markets meanwhile were sliding lower in a broad-based retreat after sharp gains at the end of last week when better US and China trade figures bolstered hopes of a stronger global economic recovery. MSCI’s world equity index was down around 0.15 percent, and the panEuropean FTSEurofirst 300 index eased 0.2 percent to 1,160 points by the midsession. London’s FTSE 100, Paris’s CAC-40 and Frankfurt’s DAX were flat to up 0.5 percent. Crude oil prices, which also got a boost last week from trade numbers that included data showing China’s oil imports running at their third highest rate on record, joined in the steady selloff. Brent crude, which had hit a nine-month high of just over $119 per barrel on the Chinese numbers, dropped 92 cents yesterday to $117.98 a barrel. US crude futures fell 14 cents to $95.58. Oil markets could get some support from stormy weather in the heavily populated US Northeast, where a blizzard dumped up to 40 inches (1 metre) of snow with hurricane force winds, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power. The outlook for oil demand should be become clearer later in the week when Germany, France and Italy release their latest quarterly gross domestic production (GDP) figures, which are expected to point to a steady contraction in the region. Gold edged lower, in line with the trend among other riskier assets, falling 0.3 percent to $1,662.61 an ounce, while platinum and palladium hovered below their strongest levels in 17 months. Trading was thin, thanks to the Lunar New Year break. — Reuters

French industrial output slumps PARIS: French industrial production fell by 2.2 percent in 2012 from the level of output in 2011, the national statistics institute INSEE told AFP yesterday. Output by the manufacturing sector, excluding production by the energy and mining sectors, fell by 2.7 percent, an official at INSEE said after calculating the annual figure including the data for December published earlier yesterday. The French government is increasingly worried about low growth and signs of severe strains in the industrial sector, with deep problems in the auto industry being the latest example. The country is running a near record structural trade deficit, and the government has introduced measures to try to improve the competitive position of industry by switching part of payroll charges to general taxation. The INSEE official calculated the performance for the whole of 2012 after the agency had published data for December and the last quarter for 2012. Industrial production fell sharply in the

fourth quarter, by 1.8 percent from output in the third quarter. In the manufacturing sector, output fell by 2.5 percent, the data showed. On a monthly basis, industrial output was almost flat in December falling by 0.1 percent from the level in November when it rose by 0.5 percent, the data showed. Output by the manufacturing sector, excluding activity by the energy and mining sectors, was also about steady, rising by 0.1 percent as in November. In the last quarter compared with output in the third quarter, production by the sector making equipment for transportation fell by 5.5 percent and for refining by 9.1 percent. Output of electrical, electronic, computer equipment and machines fell by 2.3 percent, and production of other industrial goods fell by 2.6 percent. But production by the agriculture and food industries rose by 0.8 percent. On a 12month basis, output in the last quarter by the manufacturing sector fell by 3.9 percent. —AFP

NEW DELHI: A pedestrian walks past cars at a parking lot in New Delhi. India’s once-booming passenger car sector looked set to post its worst annual performance in a decade, an industry group forecast yesterday after reporting a 12 percent plunge in unit sales in January. — AFP

India car sales dive in January NEW DELHI: India’s once-booming passenger car sector appeared set for its worst performance in a decade, an industry official said yesterday, as sales slid in January by over 12 percent from a year earlier. Car sales-viewed as a key barometer of overall economic healthslumped by 12.45 per cent to 173,420 units in January from 198,079 units in the same month of

2012, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) reported. “We now think passenger car sales growth for the (2012-13 financial) year will be in negative figures,” SIAM deputy director general Sugato Sen told AFP, adding that “the last time we had a negative was in 2002-03”. “The industry is in tough times,” Sen said. SIAM had already slashed its passenger sales forecast

for the fiscal year to March 31 from an initial 10-12 percent to 0-1 percent. Sen said there would be no official revision to SIAM’S most recent forecast but added they do not expect a recovery in the final quarter of the year. Sales so far this financial year are down around two percent on the same period a year earlier, Sen said. Consumers have been postponing

car purchases with India’s economy set to grow at its weakest pace in a decade. Higher fuel costs and steep interest rates have also kept buyers out of showrooms. Total sales of trucks and other commercial vehicles-seen as another important pointer to economic vitality-slumped by 9.51 percent to 63,218 units from 69,865 units in the year-ago period, SIAM said. — AFP



MENA Cristal ceremony Nissan’s innovation earns six awards

Sharp’s small but mighty touchscreen panel arrives in Mideast DUBAI: Sharp Middle East has officially launched its latest small size touch screen LCD in the Middle East, bringing businesses an expanded range of versatility through smart design and intelligent integrated features. The region had a first look at the device on Sharp’s stand during Infocomm 2012, held during GITEX Technology Week last year, but the small size screen packed with technology is now officially available across the Middle East. The full HD unit is primarily a PC monitor, however the in-built features give it flexibility beyond the notion of a traditional PC screen, making it truly multi-use for businesses. It is right up to date with the latest features, with full Microsoft Windows 8 touch function compatibility, and the zero bezel flat screen enables smooth Windows 8 touch operations. “We want to challenge the perception of what a PC monitor can do, and the benefits it can bring to a business - the 20 Inch touch screen display does exactly that,” said Ravinder Kumar, Deputy General Manager, Sales, Sharp Middle East. “By incorporating features which add value through multiuse versatility, the 20 Inch helps companies to think about investing in new IT peripherals in a smarter fashion, weighing up what returns they will get on their investment.” He added: “The feedback we received during Infocomm about the model was hugely positive, especially with the unit running on Microsoft Windows 8, with visitors intrigued at the numerous applications the display can be used for, so we’re very excited that we can now offer this to our customers across the Middle East.” One key feature of the display is its use of the world’s thinnest pen point stylus. The pen, at 2mm, makes detailed notes, precise pointing and neat digital handwriting smooth and natural. This, combined with

the innovative palm cancellation feature, which prioritizes pen recognition so users can write with the touch pen even if their palm is resting on the screen, opens up a range of uses for the unit including electronic signature boards and education or business note taking directly on a presentation. One of the most attractive features to business looking to supplement an existing professional display installation is the full compatibility with many of Sharp’s other professional LED displays. The 20 Inch is ideal as a digital lectern or teaching aid linked to a large size professional displays such as Sharp’s 90 Inch, or a Sharp video wall, enabling audiences such as students to see exactly what the teacher is doing through real time mirroring, all in high definition. Depending on the application desired, the monitor can be inclined at 10 degrees perfectly angled for handwriting with the stylus - as well as being used flat on a table top or mounted in standard ‘standing’ style at 75 degrees for easy viewing in a group situation. Sharp is targeting a variety of applications and vertical industries with the 20 Inch. In addition to using it to control larger LCD signage and video walls, there are uses as diverse as interactive touch signage at airports, shopping malls, and travel agencies, along with hospitality and banking uses and medical uses in hospitals and dental surgeries for going through digitized doctor’s notes, scans and diagnoses. The model slots into the Sharp professional LCD line-up at the smaller end of the scale, giving businesses the opportunity to select models from 20 Inch all the way up to 108 Inch. Sharp recently launched its 90 Inch LED with the unit completing the full professional display line-up in ultra-large sizes from 60 Inch to 108 Inch.

DUBAI: Nissan has scooped six more trophies in recognition of its exciting and innovative marketing at the recent MENA Cristal Festival. The awards included a Grand Cristal, three gold Cristals and two silver Cristals in ‘Media’ and ‘Digital & Mobile’ categories for its ‘Speed Personified’ campaign and ‘House-hunter’ test drive by its Dubai and Northern Emirates distributor, Arabian Automobiles. Nissan’s success follows the2012 GEMAS Effie MENA Awards ceremony at which it was the only automotive manufacturer to collect more than one award. The advertising campaigns recognised by the Cristal judging committee were devised and executed in partnership with TBWA\RAAD Communications Group and Mindshare. Samir Cher fan, Director of Sales and Marketing, Nissan Middle East, said: “At Nissan we build innovation and excitement into everything we do - our brand, our products and our marketing. We believe in delivering innovative products and excitement for everyone but not at the expense of practicality - when we innovate we do so in a way that is useful to people in the real world. This commitment to intelligent, customer-focused innovation shapes our entire business. “ To be recognized for doing so in a way which stands out in an increasingly crowded

marketing space with ever stronger competition is an honour and we are delighted to receive these awards. We will continue to build on this success as we continue to strengthen Nissan’s brand power in the region.”

flydubai expands Pakistan network Multan, Sialkot join airline’s operation to Karachi DUBAI: Flydubai, Dubai’s innovative airline, is to begin operations to two new destinations in Pakistan - Multan and Sialkot. Flights to the north-eastern city of Sialkot and Multan, located in central Pakistan, will operate three times a week from 13 March 2013 and 14 March 2013 respectively. Return fares start at AED 1,050. flydubai’s CEO, Ghaith Al-Ghaith, said: “Our flights to Karachi have been busy since operations began in June 2010. With a significant number of expatriates living in the UAE, and established trade links, we expect these new destinations to be equally successful as people seek affordable fares between our nations.” Flight details Sialkot: Flights to Sialkot will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. FZ337 is scheduled to depart Dubai Terminal 2 at 0025, arriving in Sialkot at 0425 local time. Return flight, FZ338, will leave Sialkot at 0525, landing in Dubai at 0815 local time. Multan: Flights to Multan will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. FZ339 will take-off from Dubai Terminal 2 at 0030, landing in Multan at 0405 local time, with return flight FZ340, departing Multan at 0505, with a scheduled arrival time in Dubai of 0715 local time. Return fares to Sialkot from Dubai start at

AED 1,050, while those to Multan cost from AED 1,230. All fares are inclusive of taxes plus one piece of hand luggage weighing up to 7kg and one small laptop bag or handbag. Checked baggage starts at AED 50 for 20kg. A seat with extra legroom costs AED100. Once on board, passengers can choose from a range of optional extras, including in-flight entertainment packages priced from AED 10 or

KSE begins year on promising note KAMCO KSE REVIEW KUWAIT: Despite the lack of economic fundamentals from the country and the lower than expected FY-12 earnings announced so far, the Kuwaiti bourse was able to reverse last month’s fall and begin the year to the upside, trailing its GCC peers. Although trading was focused on small cap stocks as investors were targeting quick gains, the KSE Price Index ended as the third best performing market following Dubai Financial Market and Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange to end the month gaining 5.24%. On the other hand, the KSE Weighted Index rose 3.48% while the KAMCO TRW Index advanced 2.42%. During the month of January 2013, the market capitalization of Kuwait Stock Exchange added 3.12% or around KD 909mn ($3.2bn) to record KD 30 billion ($106.1bn) at the end of the month, supported by heavyweight Banking and Telecom sectors adding KD 257.4mn ($910.7mn) and KD249.5mn ($882.8mn), respectively. Compared to December-12, trading indicators ended the month mixed with volume increasing 15% to 8.24bn shares from 7.16 bn shares in December12; while value traded decreased 11% to KD651mn down from KD730mn in December-12. During the majority of the month, small cap stocks dominated trading as investors continued to focus on short term gains rather than investing in blue-chips, a sign that indicates investors remain worried. The purchasing of small caps helped push the Kuwaiti Bourse to record its longest winning streak in 16 months on Jan 13, marking 8 consecutive days of gains, to close at the highest level since June 2012 at 6,109 points. Although trading was focused on small caps, trading above the psychological level of 6,000 may help spur further buying and improve overall sentiment on the back of better than expected Q4-12 earnings, higher dividend expectations and political stability in the country. Furthermore, with projects being implemented in the country, investors were more confident that a recovery may be evident during 2013. A GDF-Suez -led consortium has won a contract to build and run a 1,500 megawatt (MW) gas-fired power and seawater treatment plant in Kuwait. GDF-Suez, together with partners Sumitomo of Japan and Abdullah Hamad Al-Sagar & Brothers of Kuwait, was the successful bidder for the Az Zour North Independent Water & Power Project (IWPP), which will be able to turn sea water into up to 486,000 cubic meters of potable water each day. Once operational in 2015, the plant will make up around 12% of Kuwait’s installed power generation capacity and about a quarter of its desalination capacity. Output from the plant will be purchased by the government under a 40 year long-term deal. The uptrend was sustainable during the month taking the index to levels above the 6,200 mark on Jan. 27 to end at 6,211 and mark the highest level since May 2012. Once again, small cap stocks played a key role in this bullish run during January coupled with investor sentiment being replenished gradually as the political turmoil diminished and investors were looking for quick

The awards ceremony was the pinnacle event in a three day MENA Cristal Festival calendar. The convention attracts the finest advertising and marketing minds from across the Middle East for seminars and networking opportunities.

gains. Overall, the bullish market performance may hold steady in the near future but may witness slight corrections as investors hurry to book profits amid a solid run. Regarding corporate earnings, 15 out of 200 companies reported FY-12 earnings with aggregate earnings increasing 3.2% to KD 429.6 million in 2012 compared to KD 416.4 million in 2011. Banks’ earnings inched 3.2% higher to KD 384.6 million from KD 372.6 million in 2011 while the industrial sector witnessed a 28% slump to reach KD 30.1 million in 2012 from KD 41.9 million. The oil and gas sector returned to profits of KD 7.1 million after posting losses amounting to KD 4.3 million in 2011. In the banking sector, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), reported a marginal increase in 2012 net profits to KD 305.1 million com-

pared to KD 302.4 million in 2011. NBK highlighted 2012 was a remarkable year on the strategic level. During the year, NBK continued to deliver on its income diversification efforts through a major strategic move increasing its stake in Boubyan Bank to 58.4% transforming it into a subsidiary of NBK group. This move is key to strengthening the Bank’s presence in Kuwait’s Islamic banking market and opens new growth prospects for the Group. Additionally, NBK continued to strengthen its positioning in its regional and international markets with more focus on GCC operations. NBK’s international banking profits recorded a year-on-year growth of 22.7% in 2012. Total operating income remained strong at KD 650 million in 2012 up from KD 540 million a year earlier. It is worth mentioning that NBK’s total operating income in 2012 includes revaluation gains of KD 81.5 million resulting from the consolidation of Boubyan Bank. Also, Gulf Bank’s (GBK) FY-12 net income was flat at KD 30.9 million versus KD 30.6 million in 2011; whereas 2012 income before provisions amounted to KD 121.4 million,

up 13% versus 2011. GBK successfully completed its 2year Turnaround Plan and embarked on its new 20122015 Plan that focuses on expanding the Bank’s activities across three main pillars: “Solidifying gains, accelerating growth, and surpassing limits”. Meanwhile, on the economic front, data released by the Ministry of Finance indicated that Kuwait’s budget surplus for the first eight months (April 2012 - November 2012) of fiscal year 2012/2013 reached KD14.7 billion, exceeding the KD 11.6 billion surplus recorded during the same period of FY 2011/2012. Revenue stood at KD 21.6 billion at end of November 2012, far exceeding the budgeted amount of KD 9.3 billion. Oil revenue continues to make up almost all of the government’s income, accounting for nearly 95% of the total revenue. Kuwait traditionally underestimates oil prices and set

it at just $65.0pb in the FY 2012/2013 budget plan, resulting in a low revenue projection. Oil prices (Brent) averaged at $111.9 pb in 2012. Non-oil revenue surpassed the budgeted amount for the period by KD 367.0 million, reaching KD 1.1 billion. Expenditure fell short of the budget target for the period by KD 7.2 billion; reaching just KD 6.9 billion. Government spending was also slightly down on the same period of FY 2011/2012 when it reached KD 7.1 billion. Although wages expenditure grew by 24.7% y-oy to KD 1.9 billion, transfers declined by 23.0% while capital spending fell by 20.3% to just KD 577 million. This compares with budgeted capital expenditure of KD 2.6 billion for the full year. Moreover, the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) expects inflation will slow to 4.3% in 2012 and 4.1% in 2013 from 4.8% in 2011, in comments carried by state news agency KUNA. Inflation in the major oil exporter has been slowing gradually since mid-2011, mostly due to lower food prices. Consumer prices rose 2.3% from a year earlier in November.

select from the varied menu of refreshments and Duty Free items. Flights can be purchased from flydubai’s website (, its Call Centre (+9714 231 1000), flydubai Travel Shops or through travel partners. Bookings in Pakistan can be made by calling 042 111786747. Further information and details of the carrier’s car rental and travel insurance services can also be found on

HP unveils new SaaS solutions DUBAI: HP yesterday announced new Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions that speed application delivery and provide unparalleled visibility, collaboration and agility across often siloed or geographically dispersed application development and operations teams. * HP Agile Manager accelerates application time to market with an intuitive, web-based experience that offers visibility for planning, executing and tracking Agile development projects. * HP Performance Anywhere proactively resolves application performance issues before they impact business services through a simple-to-use, ondemand solution that provides visibility and predictive analytics. HP Agile Manager unifies and promotes collaboration with visibility into tasks, metrics and progress-whether for a single group or for multiple, geographically distributed teams across the enterprise. HP Agile Manager enables clients to: *Simplify planning and capacity management across Agile teams by providing insight into projects, including the status of tasks and potential issues or bottlenecks impacting progress. * Enhance insight into application quality with advanced source-code and build-management analytics for comprehensive traceability, rapid assessment of change and risk analysis. * Foster collaboration through integrated development environment (IDE) integrations that allow developers to work with the tool of their choice, yet still work together to share information with other team members. * Improve visibility into projects with real-time updates via customizable dashboards, which include metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs). HP Agile Manager also provides two-way synchronization with HP Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and HP Quality Center for enterprise quality management and continuous testing capabilities. HP Performance Anywhere monitors applications across the web, via the cloud and in mobile environments. Now delivered as a service, it improves application performance while reducing up-front costs and lengthy imple-

mentations so clients can: * Achieve faster time to value with automated, self-provisioned management and a simple-to-use interface. * Improve brand equity with smart analytics that understand historic norms and detect abnormal performance to proactively identify potential problems. * Rapidly resolve performance issues using an embedded social collaboration technology that allows development, testing and operations teams to work together and remediate application failures that may have resulted in production.

Tayfun Topkoc, Regional Director for HP Software, Middle East HP Performance Anywhere integrates easily with HP Agile Manager and HP Quality Center to further promote collaboration across development, test and operations teams to better align IT with business priorities. Both HP Agile Manager and HP Performance Anywhere are part of the HP Converged Cloud strategy. “Enterprise agility results from the ability to quickly deploy simple-to-use, on-demand tools that provide visibility and collaboration across the application life cycle,” said Tayfun Topkoc, HP Software Director, HP Middle East. “Together, HP Agile Manager and HP Performance Anywhere provide intuitive, collaborative and analytical capabilities needed to enable development and operation teams to deliver business-driven results.”



Tech giants summoned by Australia pricing inquiry SYDNEY: Global technology giants Microsoft, Apple and Adobe were yesterday ordered to appear before a pricing inquiry examining the often-higher cost of tech goods in Australia compared with other economies. The lower house committee holding the probe, which was launched last May, said it had summoned the trio to appear at a public hearing next month to explain why Australian customers paid more for the same products. “The committee is looking at the impacts of prices charged to Australian

consumers for IT products,” it said in a statement. “Australian consumers often pay much higher prices for hardware and software than people in other countries.” The inquiry was set up to examine claims by consumer advocacy groups of price discrimination for Australians on technology, with music, games, software, and gaming and computer hardware costing substantially more than elsewhere. According to consumer lobby group Choice, Australians pay on average 73 percent more on iTunes downloads than the

United States, 69 percent more on computer products and a staggering 232 percent more on PC game downloads. Office software was on average 34 percent more expensive in Australia when compared with the United States, Choice said in its submission to the inquiry, with hardware coming in at 41 percent more expensive. One software package was Aus$8,665 (US$8,939) more expensive to buy in Australia than the United States-a gap that Choice described as “particularly unreasonable”. “For this amount, it would be cheaper

to employ someone for 46 hours at the price of $21.30 per hour and fly them to the US and back at your expense-twice,” Choice said. Choice only did comparisons to the United States and Britain; the inquiry is examining discrepancies with these countries as well as with Asia-Pacific economies. Apple and Microsoft have both made their own submissions to the committee, arguing that prices differed across jurisdictions due to a range of factors including freight, local taxes and duties and foreign exchange rates. The Australian Information

Industry Association, which represents Adobe and other major ICT firms, has submitted to the committee that the “costs of doing business in Australia are higher than in many other countries”. It pointed to retail rent costs and high wages as some of the main factors behind business costs in Australia being “5-10 percent higher than any other country... and these costs are passed onto consumers”. Apple and Microsoft both declined to comment while Adobe said it would “cooperate with the committee as we have done since the inquiry began”. —AFP

China’s first luxury cruise liner ready to make waves HAINAN: China’s first luxury cruise liner, the Henna, left the southern resort island province of Hainan for her maiden voyage recently, marking what experts say is a major breakthrough for the cruise industry. The three-day, two-night voyage saw the vessel travel from Sanya Phoenix Island International Port to Halong Bay in Vietnam. A further 39 voyages to Vietnam are planned for its first cruise season, from January to April. “Buying the Henna as the country’s first luxury cruise ship has historic meaning, not only for the company but also for the country,” said Zhang Hao, president of HNA Tourism Cruise and Yacht Management. It marks the opening of the domestic cruise business and indicates a booming market potential, with annual cruise industry growth reaching more than 8 percent since the 1980s, much stronger than the global tourism industry’s 4 percent, according to the China Cruise and Yacht Industry Association. The association said China received 262 international cruise ships in 2011, a year-on-year increase of 17.5 percent, and 504,582 cruise travelers. Faced with this booming market, the National Tourism Administration set 2013 as National Ocean Tourism Year. The State Council, China’s cabinet, also wrote cruise industry development into the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15) on marine economy development. “The timing is good and we are taking the opportunity to be the first Chinese company to enter the cruise market,”Zhang said. The Henna was built in 1986 for Carnival Cruise Lines, a British-Americanowned cruise line, and was originally called the Jubilee. The vessel was

bought by the Chinese company in July from Pacific Sun P&O Cruises Australia for hundreds of millions of US dollars and refurbished at Sembawang Shipyard in Singapore, Zhang said. He added that such a huge investment for a newcomer to the industry is a risk, but said the more than 70 percent booking volume for the Henna’s maiden voyage has given the company confidence in potential demand in China.

while journeys are priced from 1,688 yuan to 15,888 yuan ($270 to $2,520). To attract Chinese clients, HNA has made a series of adjustments to the Henna, such as including electric kettles in rooms, fitting out a mahjong room, and serving Chinese dishes. The crew is more like an international family, with workers from around the globe all under the management of Star Cruises, the world’s third-largest

HAINAN: China’s first luxury cruise liner, the Henna. The vessel, which is 223 meters long and 31 meters wide, has 739 cabins as well as a full range of living and entertainment facilities. About 1,200 passengers were on board for the maiden voyage. They included Fang Yangzhao, a 69year-old traveler from Guangdong province, who could not hide his excitement. “It’s a good way to feel the charm of the ocean,” he said. According to cruise industry records, about 50 percent of passengers are aged between 20 and 40,

cruise line. After its first season, the Henna will sail to Tianjin for its second season, which runs from May to October, with 40 four- to five-day voyages arranged around the Korean Peninsula. Zhang said Chinese cruise liner routes are mainly based on short-term needs and short distances, and that HNA expects to introduce a second ship within three years. “We’ll open routes to Taiwan and Hong Kong when conditions are right,” he said.

The cruise industry has been a hot topic for authorities, according to Hu Yueming, deputy director of the Hainan Tourism Development Commission. He said the province will accelerate development of the industry and build Hainan into a world-class mother port. Sanya Phoenix Island International Port is in its second phase of construction, which will make it able to accommodate four cruise liners: one weighing 225,000 metric tons, one of 100,000 tons and two of 150,000 tons. Total investment is more than 1.6 billion yuan, according to the provincial tourism plan. He Zhineng, deputy director of the Tianjin Tourism Bureau, said the cruise industry has great potential, and that the Henna’s debut will bring a dramatic change to the domestic market. In the 12th Five-Year Plan on marine economy development, authorities vowed to boost the industry and improve cruise transport in coastal areas including Dalian, Tianjin, Qingdao, Shanghai, Xiamen, Shenzhen and Sanya. Although the central and local authorities sent positive signals to the industry, regulations and general market planning still need to improve, Zhang at HNA said. “The cruise industry is just starting in China, and there is no general development plan or comprehensive regulations for companies to follow,”he said. Zheng Weihang, vice-chairman of the China Cruise and Yacht Industry Association, told a conference in July that the National Tourism Administration plans to draw up a development plan for China’s cruise industry, which will include setting pilot cities and other fundamental work, such as expert training.

Against the cosmic computer NEW YORK: Progress in physics often comes about by discarding the bias that humans are at the centre of everything, the most obvious example being the repositioning of our planet from the centre of the universe. But might there still be such anthropocentrism lurking in our best models of reality? Experience and instinct make it natural to have such biases; the difficulty is recognising them and finding a more objective vantage point from which to evaluate them. And there is one particular bias that has resisted this evaluation for far too long. We have grown accustomed to the idea that there is no centre of the universe. The space to our left is no different from the space to our right. But our instincts balk when this comparison shifts from space to time. Our immediate future seems somehow different to our immediate past. We can fight these instincts with careful logic, realising there is nothing special about “now”, because every time we have ever experienced seemed like “now” at the time. The importance of putting the past and future on an equal footing is particularly clear in Einstein’s general theory of relativity. But these arguments still seem instinctively wrong. After all, we don’t know the future, and we can’t act to change the past. Our human condition has given rise to an anthropocentric bias when it comes to time. Many physicists will tell you that we have purged this bias along with the others. All of the microscopic laws of physics are timesymmetric, and general relativity represents space and time together as a four-dimensional “space-time block”. Nevertheless, there is a related bias still hiding in modern physics, and it has been there since Newton?- an instinct so natural that it’s hard to even notice. This is the assumption that the universe solves problems in the same way that we do?- that the universe works like a computer. Humans are always trying to compute the future. Given that all of our experience is of the past, there is really only one way we can do this: take information about the past, manipulate it using some rules, and then use the result to forecast the future. Mechanical computers process data in the same fashion. So it is not surprising that when Newton first laid out how to do physics, he framed it with the same computational “schema”: 1) Map present reality onto some mathematical state; 2) Input that state into some

dynamical equation; 3) Map the equation’s output back onto a future reality. As we know, this process works quite well?- many predictions made in this manner actually come to pass. But even though we have moved well beyond Newtonian physics, we haven’t yet moved beyond the Newtonian schema. The universe, we almost can’t help but imagine, is some cosmic computer that generates the future from the past via some master “software” (the laws of physics) and some special initial input (the big bang). Note that this is very different from the claim that the universe is a computer simulation. After 400 years of solving physics problems in this way, it’s only natural that we have incorporated this schema into our world view. This is the case even when it backs us into an impossible corner, as when we try to use it to explain quantum phenomena. The key point is that Newton’s schema naturally arose from our human experience of time, and it is arguably out of sync with what we have discovered since. The notion of the cosmic computer is itself an anthropocentric bias. This doesn’t mean that it’s wrong, but it does mean that it should be evaluated from an unbiased vantage point. This evaluation has not yet occurred. That could soon change. It may be surprising to hear that there is already a wildly different alternative to Newton’s 3-step schema. The “Lagrangian” approach, largely laid out in 1788 by the mathematician Joseph Louis Lagrange, turns out to be of crucial importance to both relativity and quantum theory. A simple example of a Lagrangian-style approach is Fermat’s principle of least time, which describes how light rays travel. Fermat supposed that when a ray of light travelled from X to Y it would always take the quickest path of all paths available. In a uniform material this is a straight line, but it is a different matter for rays that pass from air to water, where light travels more slowly. Just as a smart lifeguard will run a crooked path to rescue a drowning swimmer?- diagonally for the fast portion on the beach, and then less-diagonally for the slow portion through the water?- light rays do the same. Fermat’s principle makes it much easier to explain certain phenomena. Take mirages: light travels faster just above a hot surface, so the light from the sky bends in such a way that it appears to be coming from the ground. But stories like this don’t follow the Newtonian schema?- they don’t

require dynamical equations, just two endpoints, X and Y, and a process to determine the fastest of all the possible paths between them. Crucially, this style of physics is not as blind to the future as we are ourselves. Remarkably, these principles can be extended to all of classical physics, and are especially valuable to quantum field theory. But despite using the Lagrangian approach, physicists tend to view it as a mathematical trick rather than as an alternative framework for how our universe might really work. This attitude may be an indication of our biases, where our cosmic computer assumption is so deeply ingrained that we don’t even realise we are making it. This is not irrelevant metaphysics. Our assumptions frame our best models in physics, and for quantum physics in particular, the models have deep problems. For example, quantum predictions are fundamentally uncertain, and Newton’s schema doesn’t work so nicely with uncertain inputs or uncertain equations. So modern quantum theory effectively removes this initial uncertainty, postponing it until the final output step when it can no longer be ignored. Adhering to the Newtonian schema then leads to a ridiculously impossible “collapse”, when all the built-up uncertainty suddenly emerges into reality. Contrast this with the mirage example, where the uncertainty of the actual path between X and Y was smoothly spread out and elegantly solved by Lagrange’s methods. Nevertheless, if such stories can’t be translated into the Newtonian schema, no one seems to take them seriously as a template for how our universe might operate. Well, almost no one. I am proposing a modification of the most Lagrangian-friendly formulation of quantum theory, such that the mathematics could be taken literally ( If it works, it could provide an underlying realistic explanation of quantum phenomena, but without any corresponding Newtonian schema version. Confronting our biases is a prerequisite for even considering this style of explanation. While it’s far too soon to see whether this modification will be successful, it is about time we tried setting aside our anthropocentric notion of the cosmic computer and at least see what the alternatives might look like. Who knows? Quantum theory may have more in common with mirages than anyone could have guessed, and our universe may not be a computer after all. —MCT

CONNECTICUT: A Southwestern, Connecticut neighborhood is blanketed in snow yesterday, in the aftermath of a storm that hit Connecticut and much of the New England states. —AP

Alone, together: Snowed in, in the age of hashtags HAMDEN: The East Coast woke up under a blanket of snow this weekend and collectively documented the experience on the myriad social and mobile inventions of the past decade. Facebook, Twitter and other technologies make it increasingly difficult to stay isolated -even if you’re stuck home alone. “The funny thing is that I actually checked my Instagram feed before I even looked out my own window,” says Eric Witz, who lives in Medford, Mass. On Saturday, Witz posted a photo of his car stuck under a “6-foot-high snow drift”. “I always have my phone on me. So checking these things is something I do instinctively when I wake up,” he says. “That probably makes me a sad social media clichÈ, but it’s the truth.” As Northeasterners posted photo after photo of kids sledding in Central Park and suburbanites conquering Mt. Snowmore with their shovels, West Coast wags teased with tweets of sunshine and snapshots of palm trees. Call it what you will: The Hashtag Snowstorm, the latest Snowpocalypse or Snowtorious B.I.G. The weekend whiteout was a lifetime away from the blizzard of 1978, a world not just without social media but one devoid of endless Weather Channel warnings and the lifeline of mobile phones. Even the last two years have upended the way we receive information. We’ve moved from text to photos and videos taken on smart phones and we can’t let go. Kathy Tracy was in junior high school when that famous snowstorm hit Westhaven, Conn., 35 years ago. She still lives there today and some things haven’t changed. Snow is still snow, and people still wait for the streets to be cleared, hoping there is enough food and toilet paper to get by. “The roads were so bad that my father and I took a sled and walked two miles to the grocery store,” says Tracy recalling the ‘78 storm that left as much as 27 inches of snow on the Northeast. Getting updates of the ‘78 blizzard meant turning on the radio or watching evening news programs. This weekend, Tracy says she turned to Twitter and nonstop news coverage to stay informed. She also follows a meteorologist on Facebook and receives updates from CNN, The Wall Street Journal and other news outlets. While Tracy talked with a reporter on the telephone on Sunday, she was still waiting for plow trucks to clear the three feet of snow the storm heaped on her neighborhood. But the information at the tips of her fingers made being stuck at home somewhat more tolerable. “I guess what’s better is that you are not sitting here waiting for the 6 o’clock news, waiting to find out what’s going on,” she says. Still, no matter what century you live in, there are few cures for cabin fever.

“You still have to deal with waiting for the plow,” Tracy says. As people across the Northeast awaited plow trucks, looked for flights to resume or simply tried to kill time as the storm passed, they plucked away on their smartphones and tablet computers to document just about every inch of the snowfall. On Facebook, mentions of the word snow jumped 15-fold from earlier in the week, the company says, though it did not give specific numbers. On Sunday, one of the most-used terms in status updates was “no school tomorrow” as students rejoiced and parents shared updates with one another. On Instagram, people used the hashtag “Nemo” (the Weather Channel’s unofficial name for the storm) 583,641 times in describing their photos as of Sunday afternoon according to Venueseen, a company that helps businesses track marketing campaigns on Instagram. The Facebook-owned photo-sharing site is where Witz posted a photo that his sister sent him from Hamden, Conn., one of the hardest-hit areas with 40 feet of snow. “I like Instagram because it gives you a more personal, immediate sense of peoples’ experiences in real time,” he says. “I’m one of the weird few people who actually enjoy seeing what people in the world are eating and drinking.” It’s easy to be nostalgic about how much things have changed since the blizzard of ‘78 when it comes to the speed of information and how it’s consumed. But the changes continue. “What really struck me this time around, and with (Superstorm) Sandy too, is not so much that people were sharing information, but that they were sharing photos and video,” says Steve Jones, a professor who studies online culture and communications at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “You get a different perspective than you could from just words.” Indeed, says Ranvir Gujral, the cofounder of Chute, a San Francisco startup that helps companies put user-generated content on their websites and mobile apps, “we are in the midst of a visual revolution.” The San Francisco company worked with NBC to launch Stormgrams, a site where people can share Instagram photos of the storm using a common hashtag. The photos are organized by location, laid out on a “heat map” that paints the most actively sharing states red. Countless mobile apps encourage photo-taking, Gujral says, adding that a big reason there is so much thirst online for the endless stream of photos is because there has never been a bigger supply of it. So what’s lost in this endless stream of snow-updates, Instagram photos and Facebook news Serendipity, Jones says. Running into people and sharing a moment -offline- while events are unfolding. —AP

Solar power capacity exceeds 100 gigawatts PARIS: World solar power capacity passed the 100 gigawatt mark for the first time to 101 GW, the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) said yesterday. “This global capacity to harness the power of the sun produces as much electricity energy in a year as 16 coal power plants or nuclear reactors of one GW each,” the association said in a statement An unprecedented 30 GW was

added to the world grid in 2012 alone, EPIA added. “No one would have predicted even 10 years ago that we would see more than 100 GW of solar photovoltaic capacity in the world by 2012,” said EPIA President Winfried Hoffmann. “The photovoltaic industry clearly faces challenges but the results of 2012 show there is a strong global market for our technology,” he added. —AFP


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

French gourmets won’t give up on horsemeat PARIS: “A good roast or a really nice steak - fabulous! Burgers are good too but the way I really like it is raw, minced and served with a garlicky vinaigrette!” Luc Friedrich is a member of France’s dwindling but dedicated band of horsemeat lovers, and it seems the current food fraud scandal engulfing much of Europe is not going to change a habit they see as a gastronomic, not a guilty, secret. “I don’t eat it often, maybe six times a year,” says Friedrich, a wine merchant in Croissy-sur-Seine, a commuter village near Paris. “But that is mainly because it’s difficult to find. Not so long ago there was a horse butcher in every neighbourhood of Paris but there were problems in the 1980s with imports from eastern Europe and that killed the industry. “Now people have to travel to find a good butcher so they’ve lost the habit. When you can get it though, it can be

really, really good.” Although the French are often held up as the most enthusiastic consumers of horsemeat in Europe, industry figures indicate it now accounts for just 0.4 percent of overall meat consumption in the country. Just under one in five households eat the meat once a year or more. Along the street from Friedrich’s wine shop, market trader Ronan Marache is doing a steady trade in lean cuts of horsemeat that his primarily middleaged or elderly customers will take home to grill or chop up, marinate and then simmer gently for a few hours to create a hearty “daube de cheval (horse stew)”. There are not many takers however for the horse’s head in parsley, equine tripe sausages or even the finely-sliced smoked horse that resembles well-aged Parma ham. As a passing English tourist

emits a little shudder at the sight of his produce, Marache admits business has taken a little hit in the wake of the revelation that horsemeat from Romanian abattoirs has found its way into frozen beef products being sold in Britain, France and Sweden. Although fresh meat traders like him are operating at a different end of the market to industrial producers of frozen ready meals, the scandal has highlighted problems with the traceability of what ends up on tables across Europe. Suggestions of criminal, even mafia, involvement in what appears to be orchestrated fraud, have done no favours to a sector struggling against spreading cultural aversion to the very idea of eating horses. “There have been a lot of questions about the origin of the meat,” Marache said. “All ours comes from Ireland, I tell the customers that

and they seem happy enough.” Marache’s boss, Daniel Mazure, runs four market stalls in the prosperous western suburbs of the French capital. He knows all about the long-term decline of a trade his family has been involved in for three generations. But he is confident enough about the future to be on the point of expanding his network and he doesn’t see his customers turning away. “We deal with people who like eating horse. They know it is tasty and they know it is good for them,” he told AFP. “Many of them eat it because their parents eat it, and they’ve introduced their children to it.” Mazure estimates that the mad cow disease scandal in the 1990s, which resulted in dozens of human deaths and highlighted serious problems with the large-scale production of beef, gave

horsemeat sales a boost of around 20 percent. Once the beef industry was seen to have addressed its problems, that ended up as a retained gain of around five percent, he says. With his horse sirloin steaks going for around euro 21 per kilogram and fillet attracting nearly euro 40 per kg, just under the price of premium beef, Mazure knows customers have to trust the quality of what they are eating if his trade is to survive. “There is no obligation for traceability with horsemeat, but I can tell you where every carcass I sell comes from, what abattoir it was slaughtered in, whether it was male or female and when and where it was moved. “The people we sell to are not looking to save money. They’re looking for a quality product that gives them pleasure. I don’t think that will change because of what’s happening now.” — AFP

Romania rejects blame for Europe horsemeat scandal PARIS: France and Britain called yesterday for the “criminals” who disguised horsemeat as beef to be tracked down, as Romania angrily denied it was to blame for the frozen food scandal spreading across Europe. Britain’s food minister Owen Paterson said an “extensive” criminal conspiracy could be behind the scandal and said he believed warnings had been sent out to 16 different countries that might be affected. “I very much hope that these legal processes do flush out the criminals because it is completely unacceptable that British consumers should be sold a product marked as one thing which actually contains something else.” French President Francois Hollande said there had been “unacceptable behaviour, and sanctions must be pronounced” against those responsible. He also said that his advice to the French was to eat only meat from France. Supermarket chains in Britain, France and Sweden have pulled millions of packs of lasagne,

other pasta dishes, shepherd’s pies and moussaka after it emerged that frozen food companies had used horsemeat instead of beef. British supermarkets were the first to pull the products last week after French firm Comigel warned that the beef it supplied to Findus frozen food firm - which sold its ready-to-eat meals to supermarkets - was suspect. Comigel said it got its meat from another French firm, Spanghero, which said it was supplied from two abattoirs in Romania who allegedly passed horsemeat off as beef. But Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta yesterday angrily denied his country was to blame. “We have made verifications... There exists no violation of European rules and standards” by the two abattoirs, Ponta told reporters, while his agriculture minister said there had been no false labelling of meat at the two abattoirs. Ponta said Spanghero “did not have a direct contract with Romanian firms” and he called on European Union officials to find out

VILLE D’AVRAY, France: View of Findus Beef Moussaka packs being removed from sale from a local shop outside Paris yesterday. — AFP

who was to blame. “Romania cannot accept to be the usual suspect,” he said. “I am very angry, to be very honest.” French ministers prepared to hold a crisis meeting with key players in the meat industry later yesterday, as French anti-fraud agents searched the premises of both Comigel and Spanghero. Both these firms have denied any wrongdoing and said they will sue suppliers who duped them. French Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll warned that more trouble lay ahead if Europe’s complex system of wholesale meat trading was not reformed to make it simpler to trace the origin of food. “We have to get out of this fog, because we can go on calling for traceability...but if the system is so murky, if the fog is so thick that we are all lost, then we will end up with big problems,” he told RTL radio. The head of France’s ANIA food industry association, Jean-Rene Buisson, who was due to attend the crisis talks with the government, insisted that his country’s regulatory system was “the best in the world”. “We are not responsible for the fraud of one of our suppliers,” he told Europe 1 radio. “The traceability of food products is not being called into question in this affair. We put in place the best system in the world after the ‘mad cow’ crisis which will enable us to find out in two or three days who is responsible,” he said. The French government has promised the results of an urgent inquiry into the scandal by tomorrow. Findus has said it will file a legal complaint in France after evidence showed the presence of horsemeat in its supply chain “was not accidental”. Its Nordic branch said it planned to sue Comigel, which sells its products to customers in 16 countries, and its suppliers. In Britain, tests have found that some frozen ready meals produced in mainland Europe and labelled as processed beef actually contained up to 100 percent horsemeat. But the country’s food minister dismissed calls for a ban on EU meat imports, describing the idea as a “panic measure”. The scandal has had particular resonance in Britain, where eating horsemeat is considered taboo. British authorities have also said they are testing to see whether the horsemeat contains a veterinary drug that can be dangerous to humans. — AFP

What heals traumatized kids? Answers are lacking CHICAGO: Shootings and other traumatic events involving children are not rare events, but there’s a startling lack of scientific evidence on the best ways to help young survivors and witnesses heal, a government-funded analysis found. School-based counseling treatments showed the most promise, but there’s no hard proof that anxiety drugs or other medication work and far more research is needed to provide solid answers, say the authors who reviewed 25 studies. Their report was sponsored by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. According to research cited in the report, about two-thirds of US children and teens younger than 18 will experience at least one traumatic event, including shootings and other violence, car crashes and weather disasters. That includes survivors and witnesses of trauma. Most will not suffer any long-term psychological problems, but about 13 percent will develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress, including anxiety, behavior difficulties and other problems related to the event. The report’s conclusions don’t mean that no treatment works. It’s just that no one knows which treatments are best, or if certain ones work better for some children but not others. “Our findings serve as a call to action,” the researchers wrote in their analysis, published online Monday by the journal Pediatrics. “This is a very important topic, just in light of recent events,” said lead author Valerie FormanHoffman, a researcher at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She has two young children and said the results suggest that it’s likely one of them will experience some kind of trauma before reaching adulthood. “As a parent I want to know what works best,” the researcher said. Besides the December massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, other recent tragedies involving young survivors or witnesses include the fatal shooting last month of a 15-year-old Chicago girl gunned down in front of a group of friends; Superstorm Sandy in October; and the 2011 Joplin, Montana, tornado, whose survivors include students whose high school was destroyed. Some may do fine with no treatment; others will need some sort of counseling to help them cope. Studying which treatments are most effec-

tive is difficult because so many things affect how a child or teen will fare emotionally after a traumatic event, said Dr Denise Dowd, an emergency physician and research director at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, Montana, who wrote a Pediatrics editorial. One of the most important factors is how the child’s parents handle the aftermath, Dowd said. “If the parent is freaking out” and has difficulty controlling emotions, kids will have a tougher time dealing with trauma. Traumatized kids need to feel like they’re in a safe and stable environment, and if their parents have trouble coping, “it’s going to be very difficult for the kid,” she said. The researchers analyzed 25 studies of treatments that included anti-anxiety and depression drugs, school-based counseling, and various

types of psychotherapy. The strongest evidence favored school-based treatments involving cognitive behavior therapy, which helps patients find ways to cope with disturbing thoughts and emotions, sometimes including talking repeatedly about their trauma. This treatment worked better than nothing, but more research is needed comparing it with alternatives, the report says. “We really don’t have a gold standard treatment right now,” said William Copeland, a psychologist and researcher at Duke University Medical Center who was not involved in the report. A lot of doctors and therapists may be “patching together a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and that might not add up to the most effective treatment for any given child,” he said. — AP

BEIJING: A file picture taken on May 25, 2009 shows the inventor of the electronic cigarette, Hon Lik, smoking his invention. — AFP

Smoking out tobacco: The rise of the e-cig PARIS: The camera zooms in on a stubblebearded hunk dragging on a cigarette and blowing out a thick cloud of smoke with what seems to be great satisfaction. It resembles the TV smoking ads of yesteryear, now banned in most of the world, yet this modern-day offering is approved for American television viewers. “You know what the most amazing thing about this cigarette is? It isn’t one,” explains a narrator as the modern-day Marlboro Man fixes the viewer with a broody stare before returning the reusable smoke to a container that resembles the traditional pocket-sized cardboard pack. The NJOY “cigarette” is electronic - its tip lights up with the help of an LED and what appears to be smoke is actually water vapour. The actor is not smoking, but “vaping”. “Cigarettes, you have met your match,” proclaims the ad for a product that claims to mimic “the look, feel and flavour of the real thing” - minus the tar, ash, smoke and most toxins. NJOY is one of a flurry of e-cigs entering the market as tobacco prices skyrocket and smokers become ever more concerned about the toxins they inhale. But the jury is still out on whether the gadgets are safe or not. “Without question, e-cigarettes are safer than traditional tobacco cigarettes,” said Joel Nitzkin, of the American Association of Public Health Physicians. “They deliver nicotine, with only the tiniest traces of other toxic chemicals.” But there are concerns that these batterydriven alternatives, officially called electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), may pose health hazards we are not even aware of yet - just like cigarettes before their ill-effects became clear. “The safety of ENDS has not been scientifically demonstrated,” the World Health Organisation said in response to a query. “The potential risks they pose for the health of users remain undetermined.” The UN’s health organ said some testing “suggests the presence of other toxic chemicals, aside from nicotine”, and “strongly advised” consumers not to use them. E-cigs first emerged in China in 2003 as an alternative to tobacco, which kills nearly six million people each year. Just like their predecessors in the 1950s and 60s, electronic cigarettes are being advertised with attractive women and rugged, virile men hinting at a better, more popular you. It’s a strategy that seems to work. A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine

(AJPM) last month said 80 percent of users questioned in the United States, Britain, Canada and Australia believed e-cigarettes to be less harmful than their tobacco counterparts. NJOY chief executive Craig Weiss told AFP that industry predictions are for electronic cigarette sales, which have doubled in the United States every year since 2008, to reach $1 billion in 2013. “Growth in the category has occurred as a result of the millions of smokers who are actively seeking an alternative to cigarettes,” he said by email. The company would not comment on the health aspects. According to Nitzkin, the hazard posed by traditional tobacco cigarettes is about 100 times higher than today’s smokeless tobacco alternatives. “When burned, cigarettes create a tarry residue that sticks to the inside of the smallest bronchial tubes of the lungs and in the alveoli, where the body absorbs the oxygen and releases the carbon dioxide. “This tarry residue stays in place 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the life of the smoker,” he said - a side-effect that ENDS do not have. Yet the European Respiratory Society said this month it could not classify e-cigs as a safe alternative to smoking, and stressed the principle that tobacco users “should not trade one carcinogenic product for another”. Last month, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority banned an ad for an e-cigarette, Nicolites, saying: “claims that the product was not harmful had not been substantiated”. Some researchers have also expressed concerns that non-smokers may get hooked on nicotine through e-cigarette use, or that the gadget would keep people addicted to nicotine who might otherwise have quit. Nicotine can be harmful to children, pregnant women and adults with heart disease. A recent study among 3,400 high school pupils in France showed that 12 percent of 15-to-16-year-olds who claimed never to have smoked before had experimented with ENDS, and 19 percent of 17year-olds. “As a doctor, I cannot recommend the electronic cigarette,” lung specialist Bertrand Dautzenberg told AFP recently at the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital in Paris. “But I would not interfere with a smoker who wants to take it up. With a cigarette, there is a 50 percent chance of killing oneself. With the electronic cigarette, we aren’t too sure yet, but it is probably less,” he said. — AFP

New group seeks to save oceans from overfishing

JOPLIN, Montana: In this Aug 17, 2011 file photo, students listen during an assembly on the first day of school at a temporary high school in a converted store in nearly three months after an EF-5 tornado destroyed six schools and damaged four others along with killing 160 people and devastating a third of the city. — AP

OSLO: The high seas that cover almost half the Earth’s surface are a treasure trove with little legal protection from growing threats such as overfishing and climate change, according to a new international group of politicians. “High levels of pillage are going on,” David Miliband, a former British foreign secretary, told Reuters. He will co-chair the Global Ocean Commission, which will start work this week and give advice to the United Nations on fixing the problems. Overfishing and environmental mismanagement cost the world economy $50 billion a year and about three-quarters of world fish stocks are over-fished or fished to the maximum, according to World Bank and UN data. “The hidden depths are a treasure trove, and a treasure trove that we neglect or raid at our peril,” Miliband said of the high seas, the area beyond national limits that stretch 370 km from coasts. His co-chairs will be former Costa Rican president Jose Maria

Figueres and Trevor Manuel, a minister in the South African cabinet in charge of planning. The commission will include ex-cabinet ministers from nations such as Chile, Australia, Indonesia, Canada and Nigeria, as well as business leaders and Pascal Lamy, head of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). It will produce advice in 2014. Miliband said vast areas of the oceans, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, were “a neglected area of global governance” despite a 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The Commission says the high seas are under severe and increasing threat from over-fishing, damage to habitat, climate change and ocean acidification caused by a build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. There are some regulatory mechanisms - the Jamaica-based International Seabed Authority was set up in 1994 to control mining of deep-sea deposits such as nodules rich in manganese, iron, aluminium and copper. — Reuters


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

Leaving hospital? Heed care tips or you may return WASHINGTON: Michael Lee knew he was still in bad shape when he left the hospital five days after emergency heart surgery. But he was so eager to escape the constant prodding and the roommate’s loud TV that he tuned out the nurses’ care instructions. “I was really tired of Jerry Springer,” the New York man says ruefully. “I was so anxious to get out that it sort of overrode everything else that was going on around me.” He’s far from alone: Missing out on critical information about what to do at home to get better is one of the main risks for preventable rehospitalizations. “There couldn’t be a worse time, a less receptive time, to offer people information than the 11 minutes before they leave the building,” said readmissions expert Dr Eric Coleman of the University of Colorado in Denver. Hospital readmissions are miserable for patients, and a huge cost - more than $17 billion a year in avoidable Medicare bills alone - for a nation struggling with the price of healthcare. Now, with Medicare fining facilities that don’t reduce readmissions enough, the nation is at a crossroads as hospitals begin to take action. “Patients leave the hospital not necessarily when they’re well but when they’re on the road to recovery,” said Dr David Goodman, who led a new study from the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care that shows different parts of the country do a better job at keeping those people at home. The Dartmouth study was commissioned by the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, which then invited the AP as a partner to explore through focus groups it organized what happens at the hospital level that makes readmissions so difficult to solve. In Portland, Oregon, nurses at Oregon Health & Science University start teaching heart failure patients what they’ll need to do at home on their first day in the hospital, instead of just on their last day. In Salt Lake City, a nurse acts as a navigator, connecting high-risk University of

Utah patients with community doctors for followup treatment and ensuring both sides know exactly what’s supposed to happen when they leave the hospital. Some techniques are emerging as key, Coleman said: Having patients prove they understand by teaching back to the nurse. Role-playing how they’d handle problems. Finding a patient goal to target, like the grandmother who wants her heart failure controlled enough that her feet don’t swell out of her Sunday shoes. You’d be mad at having to return your car to the mechanic within a month, yet rehospitalization after people get their hearts repaired too often is treated as business as usual, laments Dr Ricardo Bello, a cardiac surgeon at New York’s Montefiore Medical Center. Heart surgeons try to prevent that by re-examining patients two to three weeks after they go home. But Montefiore patients tend to be readmitted sooner than that. So last fall, Bello’s team began a special clinic where nurses check heart surgery patients about a week after they go home, at no extra charge - and have a chance to re-teach those discharge instructions when people are more ready to listen. Plus, for that first month at home, patients are supposed to wear a bracelet with a phone number to reach Montefiore’s cardiac unit 24 hours a day with any worries. “It changed my conception of dealing with a doctor,” said Michael Lee, 60. Montefiore surgeons repaired a life-threatening crack in Lee’s aorta, the body’s main blood vessel, but his recovery derailed days after getting home. He quit some medications. He was scared to wash the wound that ran from chest to navel, an infection risk. He developed a scary cough and called that special clinic in a panic. It turned out the cough was a temporary nuisance - but nurses discovered a real threat: Lee’s blood pressure was creeping up, a risk to his healing aorta. Those pills Lee quit were supposed to keep it extra low, a

NEW YORK: (Left) In this Jan 17, 2013 photo, Dr Ricardo Bello speaks to a reporter at Montefiore Medical Center. (Right) Michael Lee talks about his recent heart surgery and follow-up care at Montefiore. — AP message he’d missed. And some hands-on instruction reassured Lee that he could handle his wound without tearing it. Without the clinic, “he’s definitely somebody we would have been called to see in the emergency room,” said physician assistant Jason Lightbody. In heart failure, a weakly pumping heart allows fluid to build up until patients gasp for breath. Spotting subtle early signs like swelling ankles or creeping weight gain is crucial. But at the Oregon Health & Science University, nurse practitioner Jayne Mitchell spied as patients were told what to watch for as they were discharged - and they barely paid attention. The new plan: Learn by doing. Every morning, hospitalized patients weigh themselves in front of a nurse, record the result and get quizzed on what

they’d do at home. Gained 2 pounds or more? Call the doctor for fast help. Lots of day-to-day fluctuation? A weekly log can help a doctor tell if a patient is getting worse or skipping medication or having trouble avoiding water-retaining salty food. Step 2: These patients need a check-up a week after they go home. The hospital makes the appointment with a primary care doctor before they’re discharged, to ensure they can get one. And for some high-risk patients who live too far away to easily track, Mitchell is pilot-testing whether a high-tech option helps them stick with care instructions. During that first vulnerable month at home, those patients record their morning weight, blood pressure and heart rate on a monitor called the Health Buddy. It automatically sends the information back to Mitchell’s team at

OHSU and also will flash instructions to the patient if it detects certain risks. In Sun River, Oregon, Richard W Pasmore’s phone rang one morning. Nurses three hours away in Portland saw that his weigh-in was high and adjusted his medications over the phone. The 67-year-old Pasmore thinks it prevented a return to the hospital: “It kept them totally abreast of everything that was happening with me.” And by the end of the month, he says he’d gotten in the habit of his morning heart failure checks. At the University of Utah, nurse Stephanie Wallace links high-risk patients to the outside care that could keep them from returning. And she’s the one whose phone rings when that care falls through. Consider the single mother who couldn’t afford post-hospital blood tests to make sure her blood-thinning medication was working properly, or time off work to get them and didn’t speak enough English to seek help. When the woman missed her lab appointment, Wallace pieced together the trouble, helped her enroll in a program for low-income patients - and stressed the importance of sticking with this care. “It’s not that they don’t understand why they’re sick. They don’t grasp the importance of why they need followup,” Wallace said. The customized programs reflect the Dartmouth study’s findings that there’s great geographic variability in hospital readmissions. In Miami, for example, more than a quarter of Medicare patients with heart failure returned to the hospital within a month in 2010, the latest data available. That’s double the readmission rate for those patients in Provo, Utah. In Dearborn, Michigan, the readmission rate for pneumonia was 20 percent, twice that of hospitals in Salt Lake City. “Every place is different and faces different challenges in terms of improving care after patients are discharged from the hospital,” Goodman said. — AP

W H AT ’ S O N




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


Happy Birthday Affan Arif Kazi born on 12 february 2001 with best wishes from all family members and fankaar arts kuwait

Annual IKEA Soft Toys for Education Campaign


hrough the annual IKEA Soft Toys for Education campaign, IKEA customers and co-workers enabled euro9.3 million to be donated to help improve children’s education in Africa, Central- and Eastern Europe as well as Asia. The donation is made by IKEA Foundation and is directed to UNICEF and Save the Children projects. The annual IKEA Soft toys for Education campaign ran from November to December 2012 in all IKEA stores around the world. For each soft toy or children’s book purchased, euro1 was donated to UNICEF and Save the Children by the IKEA Foundation. Since the start of this annual campaign in 2003, the IKEA Foundation has raised nearly euro 57 million, which has helped improve the educational opportunities of more than 10 million children in 45 countries. The donations help UNICEF and Save the Children train teachers in child-friendly teaching methods, improve child protection systems, supply educational materials, and increase school attendance rates. Thanks to this year’s donation, the IKEA Foundation will support 18 UNICEF and Save the Children projects in 17 countries: UNICEF’s share will fund the Schools for Africa initiative in eight countries and the Schools in Asia initiative in China. Save the Children’s share will support education for children of the most marginalised groups in Asia and Eastern Europe. In some IKEA stores, customers had the chance to be involved in a ‘Give Twice’ incentive, donating IKEA soft toys to local children’s charities. “We would like to thank both the IKEA Foundation and IKEA co-workers and customers for their support of Save the Children’s programs for children from minority groups and children with disabilities. We look forward to continue our work with the Soft Toys for Education campaign together with IKEA and the IKEA Foundation next year.”, Elisabeth Dahlin, Secretary General and Chairman of the Save the Children IKEA Foundation Steering Committee said. “Heartfelt thanks from UNICEF to every person who bought an IKEA soft toy and to every co-worker who worked so hard to make the campaign a success. This year’s generous donation will help us support quality education for some of the most vulnerable children in the world. The impressive support of the IKEA Foundation, millions of IKEA customers and thousands of co-workers worldwide is an excellent example of collective action that will bring positive and long-lasting change to children’s lives.”, Leila Pakkala, Director, Private Fundraising and Partnerships, UNICEF said.

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

The Omniaty Kids Marathon, the first of its kind in Kuwait, was held recently featuring wide participation and organized by the Omniaty Project; a project that helps grant the wishes of children suffering from chronic and life risking diseases in cooperation with the Bayt Abdullah and children’s hospitals in Kuwait. —Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Chinese Embassy celebrates Lunar new Year The Chinese Embassy in Kuwait held a ceremony to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year of the Snake, featuring various displays from the Chinese culture. The event took place at the Awqaf Compound in Dasma and was attended by Ambassador Cui Jianchun as well as embassy staff and members from the Chinese community in Kuwait. —Photos by Fouad Al-Shaikh


W H AT ’ S O N


Crowne Plaza Kuwait named best business hotel in kuwait


dding yet another feather to its cap Crowne Plaza Kuwait opened the New Year on a winning note. The hotel was recently adjudged the Best Business Hotel by the reputed Business Destinations Awards 2013. The Business Destinations Travel Awards are designed to showcase those companies whose products and services represent the pinnacle of the business travel industry. Unique in travel accolade platforms, the Business Destinations Travel Awards are chosen not by a select, elite panel of judges but rather by a vast and diverse cross section of primary users and purchasers of corporate travel. They believe strongly that this exceptional recognition should be determined by the widest possible audience, whose first hand experience of frequent travel is best suited to select the overall winners. Mr Ramy Haykal , General Manager expressed his pride and happiness on receiving the prestigious award” Crowne Plaza Kuwait has once again displayed its mettle. Having had its share of economic challenges during the past year, determination and hard work has caused the hotel to rise above expectations, and the award is an

acknowledgement of the same.” The hotel is now considered a destination in itself, offering both - leisure and business - travelers an unmatched experience in Kuwait. With its close proximity to the airport and it’s specialized services and facilities to accommodate the needs of the business travelers it is no surprise that Crowne Plaza is

considered the most preferred destination by its guests. The amenities that Crowne Plaza Kuwait offers are unlike any other hotel in the country. Under one roof, guest can eat their way through 8 different specialty restaurants, conduct their meetings using our state of the art meeting and convention facilities, work out in one the

biggest Health Club and unwind at the SPA Aquatonic with 650 sqm of Aquatonic pool. Not to mention the ample of car park spaces available in and around the hotel catering to the needs of our business partners. The hotel is also known to be the leader in the dining and catering segment in Kuwait. With restaurants that offer a medley of flavors from all corners of the world. Crowne Plaza Kuwait has always been a success story. In the past 30 years, Crowne Plaza has grown into an extraordinary and award winning hotel - beloved by guests and employees alike. The management of the hotel humbly dedicates the award to the highly capable hotel colleagues who share this success journey together and the continued patronage of its esteemed guests and community. This definitely marks as a proud moment, as Crowne Plaza Kuwaitbeing also part of IHG (Intercontinental Hotels Group) one of the major hotel chains in the world and number one in terms of number rooms and committing itself to delivering the best services to its guests and creating “Great Hotels Guest Love.”

“Welcome Luxury” - Hala February Ford Fiesta Prize Draw


elcome Luxury”, the leisure memberships from the Spa Aquatonic, Laila Gallery Spa and Edge Fitness is proud to announce the “Hala February” Ford Fiesta prize draw competition in association with Hamad Mohammad Al Wazzan and Al Nahar Newspaper. “Welcome Luxury” is the premium leisure memberships with a difference. We understand that each person is unique, so we have designed a variety of lifestyle and well-being options to suit individual needs. Memberships at Edge Fitness, Spa Aquatonic or Laila Gallery Spa are combined with exclusive privileges at the Crowne Plaza, Kuwait. The first 500 memberships from the 5th February to the 10th March 2013 are eligible for the prize draw of a Ford Fiesta. The lucky winner of the Ford Fiesta will be drawn at the prize draw cocktail evening on the 11th March at the Crowne Plaza Kuwait in the Leisure courtyard. The Spa Aquatonic consists of 2 sections: the 650m2 Spa Aquatonic therapeutic pool and the treatment area of 17 exclusive therapy rooms. This

unique combination offers both ladies and gentlemen the option of well-being and/or healing treatments - all accomplished in line with international standards. The Aquatonic Pool inspired by Thermes Marins de Saint Malo’s original Aquatonic pool in France, is unique to Kuwait and one of only thirteen in the world. The therapeutic pool offers more than relaxation, it comprises 15 different water treatments, each serving a purpose. The benefits include weight loss, muscle toning, treatment of body pains, or relaxation. Spa Aquatonic memberships allow members to take advantage of the benefits of the Aquatonic Pool. The gym at the exclusive ladies only Laila Gallery Spa at the Laila Gallery Mall, Salmiya is specifically designed to help women reach their fitness and weight loss goals in a private and friendly environment. No detail is overlooked at the gym, with luxurious interiors, professional gym instructors and a great selection of classes. Every piece of equipment in the workout circuit is thestate-of-the-art personal coach-

ing system - Techno Gym(r). All fitness levels are different, therefore personalized workoutsare created and programed into the Techno Gym(r) computerized system. This allows moment-to-moment progress feedback, reporting calories burnt and achievements. Whilst technology is great, the professional gym advisors are still on hand to motivate and assist. The sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi enhance the wellbeing and relaxation benefits. Edge 24 Hour Fitness is the newly branded Health Club at the Crowne Plaza, offering members fitness facilities including; thermo-regulated swimming pool, separate men and ladies gyms, Kuwait’s biggest cardio area, various aerobic classes, martial arts classes, 5 squash courts and a multi sports section. Members are supported in achieving healthy lifestyles by our staff with simple encouragement as well as assessments and training programs. At Edge Fitness you can be as active or as chilled out as you like, enjoy some time to yourself or take the opportunity to meet up with friends and socialise.

KUWAIT: The Premier Goal Academy in association with Everton F.C. under the Patronage of H.E. the British Ambassador, Mr. Frank Baker, offers Girls Football Coaching every Sunday at Bayan from 5 - 6.30pm. Coach Carly Stevens has previous playing experience with Arsenal Ladies in the English Women’ s League and leads the weekly coaching sessions for the girls aged from 10 to 16 years. The program is sponsored by Porsche Centre Kuwait, Behbehani Motors Company, and the girls are looking forward to regular matches to demonstrate their improving skills and techniques.

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. ■■■■■■■

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

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

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

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

Kuwait Carnatic Music Forum Thyagaraja program


KUWAIT: The HR management and the staff of Al Muzaini Exchange Company gave a warm farewell to the departing head of the planning & business development and chief compliance officer Sadasiva Rao. Al Muzaini HR Manager Hussain, coordinator A K Muhammad, Omaima, Essam, Zakira, Idunil and others wished him all success in his future endeavor. In his reply, Rao said sincere and honest work done collectively will bring progress.

J 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 19 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 Animal Cops South Africa 01:45 Human Prey 02:35 I’m Alive 03:25 Wildest Africa 04:15 Karina: Wild On Safari 04:40 Ned Bruha: Skunk Whisperer 05:05 My Cat From Hell 05:55 Call Of The Wildman 06:20 Escape To Chimp Eden 06:45 Clinically Wild: Alaska 07:10 Clinically Wild: Alaska 07:35 Wildlife SOS 08:00 The Really Wild Show 08:25 Too Cute! 09:15 Dogs 101: Specials 10:10 Crocodile Hunter 11:05 Wildest Africa 12:00 Animal Cops Phoenix 12:55 Call Of The Wildman 13:20 Wildlife SOS 13:50 Shamwari: A Wild Life 14:15 Shamwari: A Wild Life 14:45 Animal Precinct 15:40 Wildest Africa 16:30 Escape To Chimp Eden 17:00 The Really Wild Show 17:30 Dogs 101: Specials 18:25 Animal Airport 18:50 Animal Airport 19:20 My Cat From Hell 20:15 Bondi Vet 20:40 Safari Vet School 21:10 Call Of The Wildman 21:35 Escape To Chimp Eden 22:05 Wildest Africa 23:00 Wildlife SOS 23:55 Venom Hunter With Donald Schultz

00:00 Homes Under The Hammer 00:50 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Specials 02:10 Come Dine With Me: South Africa 03:05 Antiques Roadshow 03:55 Ty’s Great British Adventure 04:20 Ty’s Great British Adventure 04:45 Bargain Hunt 05:30 Living In The Sun 06:20 House Swap 07:10 Saturday Kitchen 2008/09 07:35 Gino D’acampo: An Italian In Mexico 08:10 Homes Under The Hammer 09:00 Bargain Hunt 09:45 Antiques Roadshow 10:35 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Specials 11:55 MasterChef 12:50 Come Dine With Me: South Africa 13:45 New Scandinavian Cooking 14:15 Holmes On Homes 15:05 Bargain Hunt 15:50 Antiques Roadshow 16:40 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Specials 18:00 Homes Under The Hammer 18:50 The Hairy Bikers USA 19:15 Baking Made Easy 19:45 Rhodes Across The Caribbean 20:30 Come Dine With Me 21:20 Perfect Day 21:45 Fantasy Homes By The Sea 22:30 Bargain Hunt: Famous Finds 23:15 Bargain Hunt

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Newsday Asia Business Report Sport Today BBC World News Asia Business Report Sport Today BBC World News Asia Business Report Sport Today BBC World News Hardtalk BBC World News World Business Report BBC World News BBC World News

05:30 World Business Report 05:45 BBC World News 06:00 BBC World News 06:30 World Business Report 06:45 BBC World News 07:00 BBC World News 07:30 World Business Report 07:45 BBC World News 08:00 BBC World News 08:30 Hardtalk 09:00 BBC World News 09:30 World Business Report 09:45 Sport Today 10:00 BBC World News 10:30 BBC World News 11:00 GMT With George Alagiah 11:30 GMT With George Alagiah 12:00 Impact With Mishal Husain 12:30 Impact With Mishal Husain 13:00 Impact With Mishal Husain 13:30 Hardtalk 14:00 BBC World News 14:30 BBC World News 15:00 BBC World News 15:30 World Business Report 15:45 Sport Today 16:00 BBC World News 16:30 BBC Focus On Africa 17:00 BBC World News 17:30 World Business Report 17:45 Sport Today 18:00 World News Today With Zeinab Badawi 18:30 World News Today With Zeinab Badawi 19:00 World News Today With Zeinab Badawi 19:30 World Business Report 19:45 Sport Today 20:00 Business Edition With Tanya Beckett 20:30 Hardtalk 21:00 BBC World News America 21:30 BBC World News America 22:00 Newsday 22:30 Asia Business Report 22:45 Sport Today 23:00 Newsday 23:30 Asia Business Report 23:45 Sport Today

00:05 Taz-Mania 00:30 Pink Panther And Pals 00:55 Moomins 01:20 Tom & Jerry Kids 01:45 A Pup Named Scooby-Doo 02:10 Puppy In My Pocket 02:35 Wacky Races 03:00 Looney Tunes 03:25 Duck Dodgers 03:50 Dastardly And Muttley 04:00 Dexter’s Laboratory 04:30 Wacky Races 04:55 Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries 05:20 Tom & Jerry 05:45 The Garfield Show 06:00 Bananas In Pyjamas 06:25 Gerald McBoing Boing 06:45 Jelly Jamm 07:00 Ha Ha Hairies 07:25 Baby Looney Tunes 07:50 Lazy Town 08:15 Krypto The Superdog 08:40 Jelly Jamm 09:05 Gerald McBoing Boing 09:30 Cartoonito Tales 09:55 Bananas In Pyjamas 10:20 Ha Ha Hairies 10:45 Lazy Town 11:10 Krypto The Superdog 11:35 Baby Looney Tunes 12:00 Jelly Jamm 12:25 Gerald McBoing Boing 12:50 Cartoonito Tales 13:15 Krypto The Superdog 13:40 Lazy Town 14:00 A Pup Named Scooby-Doo 14:25 Tom And Jerry Tales 14:50 Sylvester And Tweety Mysteries 15:20 Johnny Bravo 15:45 Tom & Jerry 16:10 Pink Panther And Pals 16:35 The Garfield Show 17:00 What’s New Scooby-Doo? 17:25 Sylvester And Tweety Mysteries 17:50 Tom And Jerry Tales 18:15 The Looney Tunes Show

18:40 19:05 19:30 Tales 20:45 21:10 21:20 21:35 22:00 22:25 22:50 23:15 23:40

Taz-Mania Moomins Bugs Bunny’s 1001 Rabbit Moomins Dexters Laboratory Johnny Bravo Puppy In My Pocket The Garfield Show What’s New Scooby-Doo? Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries Tom & Jerry Tales The Looney Tunes Show

00:40 Chowder 01:30 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 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 06:30 Ben 10 06:55 Angelo Rules 07:00 Casper’s Scare School 07:30 Casper’s Scare School 08:00 Mucha Lucha 08:25 Johnny Test 08:45 Adventure Time 09:05 Total Drama World Tour 09:30 Total Drama World Tour 09:55 Ben 10: Omniverse 10:20 Young Justice 10:45 Thundercats 11:10 Regular Show 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 Transformers Prime 17:40 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 World Tour 20:30 Total Drama World Tour 20:55 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 21:20 Hero 108 21:45 Bakugan: Mechtanium Surge 22:10 Grim Adventures Of... 23:00 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 23:25 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 23:50 The Powerpuff Girls

00:00 Connect The World With Becky Anderson 01:00 Amanpour 01:30 World Sport 02:00 Piers Morgan Tonight 03:00 World Report 03:30 World Sport 04:00 Anderson Cooper 360 05:00 Piers Morgan Tonight 06:00 Quest Means Business 07:00 The Situation Room 08:00 World Sport 08:30 African Voices 09:00 World Report 10:00 World Report 11:00 World Sport 11:30 Talk Asia 12:00 World Business Today 13:00 Amanpour 13:30 News Special 14:00 World One 15:00 Piers Morgan Tonight 16:00 News Stream 17:00 World Business Today 18:00 International Desk 19:00 Global Exchange


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World Sport News Special International Desk Quest Means Business Amanpour CNN Newscenter

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Gold Rush Gold Divers Around The World In 80 Ways Mythbusters Border Security Auction Kings Auction Kings How Do They Do It? How It’s Made American Guns Mythbusters Life On A Wire Finding Bigfoot Border Security Auction Kings Auction Kings How Do They Do It? How It’s Made Gold Rush Gold Divers Around The World In 80 Ways Border Security Auction Kings Auction Kings Bear Grylls Finding Bigfoot Mythbusters American Guns How Do They Do It? How It’s Made Auction Kings Auction Kings Flying Wild Alaska Man, Woman, Wild Finding Bigfoot

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Junkyard Wars The Gadget Show The Gadget Show Finding Bigfoot Sci-Fi Science Mighty Ships Weird Or What? Engineered Sport Science Meteorite Men Mighty Ships Engineered Junkyard Wars Sport Science The Gadget Show The Gadget Show Meteorite Men Engineered Junkyard Wars Sci-Fi Science Mighty Ships Finding Bigfoot The Gadget Show The Gadget Show Sport Science Engineered Meteorite Men Da Vinci’s Machines The X-Testers The X-Testers The Gadget Show The Gadget Show Da Vinci’s Machines The X-Testers

00:10 Hannah Montana Forever 00:35 Brandy & Mr Whiskers 01:00 Brandy & Mr Whiskers 01:25 Replacements 01:50 Replacements 02:15 Emperor’s New School 02:40 Emperor’s New School 03:05 Brandy & Mr Whiskers 03:30 Brandy & Mr Whiskers 03:55 Replacements 04:20 Replacements 04:45 Emperor’s New School 05:10 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 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 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 Suite Life On Deck 14:10 A.N.T. Farm 14:35 Phineas And Ferb 14:45 Phineas And Ferb 15:00 Phineas And Ferb 15:10 Phineas And Ferb 15:25 Shake It Up 15:50 Austin And Ally 16:15 Jessie 16:40 A.N.T. Farm 17:00 Good Luck Charlie 17:30 Gravity Falls 17:55 Suite Life On Deck 18:20 Austin And Ally 18:45 Phineas And Ferb 18:55 Phineas And Ferb 19:10 A.N.T. Farm 19:35 Good Luck Charlie 20:00 Jessie 20:30 That’s So Raven 20:50 Cory In The House 21:15 Phil Of The Future 21:40 Hannah Montana 22:05 Good Luck Charlie 22:30 Good Luck Charlie 22:55 Wizards Of Waverly Place 23:20 Wizards Of Waverly Place 23:45 Hannah Montana Forever

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Little Einsteins Special Agent Oso Special Agent Oso Lazytown Jungle Junction Jungle Junction Handy Manny

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

00:15 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 01:30 Andy Bates American Street Feasts 01:55 Andy Bates American Street Feasts 02:20 Unwrapped 02:45 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 04:20 Kid In A Candy Store 04:50 Unique Sweets 05:15 Charly’s Cake Angels 05:40 Chopped 06:30 Iron Chef America 07:10 Unwrapped 07:35 Unwrapped 08:00 Food Network Challenge 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 Easy Chinese: San Francisco 11:45 Easy Chinese 12:10 Mexican Made Easy 12:35 Mexican Made Easy 13:00 Iron Chef America 13:50 Tyler’s Ultimate 14:15 Easy Chinese 14:40 Easy Chinese 15:05 World Cafe Asia 15:30 Easy Chinese: San Francisco 15:55 Easy Chinese 16:20 United Tastes Of America 16:45 Chopped 17:35 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 18:00 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 18:25 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 18:50 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 19:15 Andy Bates American Street Feasts 19:40 Tyler’s Ultimate 20:05 Guy’s Big Bite 20:30 Chopped 21:20 Chopped 22:10 Iron Chef America 23:00 Iron Chef America 23:50 Iron Chef America

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Dirty Soap Style Star THS Behind The Scenes Extreme Close-Up E!es THS 30 Best & Worst Beach Bodies Behind The Scenes Giuliana & Bill Giuliana & Bill THS Married To Jonas Married To Jonas Ice Loves Coco Ice Loves Coco

POWDER BLUE ON OSN CINEMA 14:05 Kourtney & Kim Take York 14:30 Kourtney & Kim Take York 15:00 Style Star 15:30 E!es 16:30 Behind The Scenes 17:00 Keeping Up With Kardashians 18:00 Keeping Up With Kardashians 19:00 THS 20:00 Married To Jonas 20:30 Giuliana & Bill 21:30 Giuliana & Bill 22:30 Fashion Police 23:30 Chelsea Lately

New New

The The

00:15 Delinquent Gourmet 00:45 Adventure Wanted 01:40 Bondi Rescue: Bali 02:05 On Surfari 02:35 Cycling Home From Siberia With Rob Lilwall 03:00 Destination Extreme 03:30 Racing To America 04:25 Market Values 04:50 The Best Job In The World 05:20 A World Apart 06:15 David Rocco‚Äôs Dolce Vita 3 06:40 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 07:10 Delinquent Gourmet 07:35 Delinquent Gourmet 08:05 Adventure Wanted 09:00 Bondi Rescue: Bali 09:25 On Surfari 09:55 Cycling Home From Siberia With Rob Lilwall 10:20 Destination Extreme 10:50 Racing To America 11:45 Market Values 12:10 The Best Job In The World 12:40 Lonely Planet: Roads Less Travelled 13:35 David Rocco‚Äôs Dolce Vita 3 14:00 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 14:30 Delinquent Gourmet 14:55 Delinquent Gourmet 15:25 Chasing Che: Latin America On A Motorcycle 15:50 Chasing Che: Latin America On A Motorcycle 16:20 Bondi Rescue: Bali 16:45 My Sri Lanka With Peter Kuruvita 17:15 Cycling Home From Siberia With Rob Lilwall 17:40 Destination Extreme 18:10 Racing To America 19:05 Market Values 19:30 The Best Job In The World 20:00 Delinquent Gourmet 20:30 Delinquent Gourmet 21:00 David Rocco‚Äôs Dolce Vita 3 21:30 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 22:00 A World Apart 22:55 David Rocco‚Äôs Dolce Vita 3 23:20 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 23:50 Exploring The Vine

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The Thaw-PG15 Seventh Moon-18 Tank Girl-PG15 Hackers-PG15 Barricade-PG15 The Stool Pigeon-PG15 Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle-

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Husk-18 Love Finds A Home-PG15 The Deep End Of The Ocean-

Barricade-PG15 True Justice: Dead Drop-PG15 Charlie’s Angels: Full ThrottleRoboCop-PG15 Unknown-PG15

Certain Prey-PG15 Love Finds A Home-PG15 We Bought A Zoo-PG What’s Wrong With VirginiaNothing Like The Holidays-

16:45 19:45 21:15 23:00

Treasure Island-PG15 Vampires Suck-PG15 Bel Ami-18 Powder Blue-18

00:00 Wilfred 00:30 The Daily Show Global Edition 01:00 The Colbert Report Global Edition 01:30 The League 02:00 Unsupervised 02:30 Eastbound & Down 03:00 The Simpsons 03:30 Raising Hope 04:00 Less Than Perfect 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 Less Than Perfect 06:00 Seinfeld 06:30 Hope & Faith 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:00 Less Than Perfect 08:30 Less Than Perfect 09:00 The Simpsons 09:30 How I Met Your Mother 10:00 Modern Family 10:30 Hope & Faith 11:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 12:00 Seinfeld 12:30 Less Than Perfect 13:00 Less Than Perfect 13:30 Hope & Faith 14:00 Raising Hope 14:30 Modern Family 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 The Simpsons 18:30 Raising Hope 19:00 How I Met Your Mother 19:30 Modern Family 20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 The League 22:30 American Dad 23:00 Eastbound & Down 23:30 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

00:00 01:00 02:00 03:00 06:00 07:00 07:30 08:00 09:00 12:00 12:30 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 16:30 17:00 18:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00

Castle Banshee Once Upon A Time Special The Killing Castle Emmerdale Coronation Street One Tree Hill Once Upon A Time Special Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show One Tree Hill Castle Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show One Tree Hill In Plain Sight Homeland World Without End The Killing

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The Thaw-PG15 Seventh Moon-18 Tank Girl-PG15 Hackers-PG15 Barricade-PG15 The Stool Pigeon-PG15 Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle-

01:00 03:15 PG15 05:30 07:00

The Alamo-PG15 Master And Commander-

Barricade-PG15 True Justice: Dead Drop-PG15 Charlie’s Angels: Full ThrottleRoboCop-PG15 Unknown-PG15

The Roommate-PG15 Hindenburg-PG15

10:00 Bound By A Secret-PG15 11:30 Quiz Show-PG15 13:45 Bright Star-PG15 15:45 Bound By A Secret-PG15 17:15 Dear John-PG15 19:00 Romeo Is Bleeding-18 21:00 Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind-PG15 23:00 Vincere-18

00:00 Summer Coda-PG15 02:00 The Tree Of Life-PG15 04:15 Jetsons: The Movie-FAM 06:00 The Borrowers-PG 08:00 Evan Almighty-PG15 10:00 Tomorrow, When The War Began-PG15 12:00 Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Pt.2-PG15 14:15 Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story-PG 16:00 Evan Almighty-PG15 18:00 The Art Of Getting By-PG15 20:00 Crazy, Stupid, Love.-PG15 22:00 Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows-PG15

01:00 European PGA Tour Highlights 02:00 PGA Tour Highlights 03:00 Top 14 07:00 Snooker The Welsh Open 10:00 ICC Cricket 360 10:30 Super League 14:30 ICC Cricket 360 15:00 Futbol Mundial 15:30 NFL Gameday 16:00 Live Snooker The Welsh Open 21:30 Futbol Mundial 22:00 Live Snooker The Welsh Open

00:00 PGA Tour Highlights 01:00 Trans World Sport 02:00 Futbol Mundial 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 Top 14 12:00 Snooker 15:00 City Centre Races 15:30 Rugby League NRL 17:30 ICC Cricket 360 18:00 PGA European Tour Highlights 19:00 PGA Tour Highlights 20:00 UFC The Ultimate Fighter 21:00 WWE Bottom Line 22:00 WWE SmackDown

00:00 ICC Cricket 360 00:30 Super League 02:30 Premier League Darts 06:00 Golfing World 08:00 Trans World Sport 09:00 World Cup of Pool 11:00 Top 14 Highlight 11:30 Pro 12 13:30 Golfing World 14:30 World Cup of Pool 16:30 Premier League Darts 20:00 Trans World Sport 21:00 Golfing World 22:00 European PGA Highlights 23:00 World Cup of Pool


01:00 NHL 03:00 Ping Pong World Championships 04:00 US Bass Fishing 05:00 NHL 07:00 WWE NXT 08:00 WWE Bottom Line 09:00 Ping Pong World Championships 10:00 US Bass Fishing 11:00 NHL 13:00 WWE Experience 14:00 V8 Supercars Highlights 16:00 Prizefighter 19:00 NHL 21:00 UAE National Race Day Series 22:00 UFC TUF 23:00 UFC Unleashed

Classifieds TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2013


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Required used car or Jeep in good condition. Contact: 96955163 (C 4306) 12-2-2013 2009 Hyundai Sonata, single use, white color, excellent condition, agency maintained, 37,000 km only, still under warranty, expecting price KD 3,000, negotiable. Contact: 97182559. 6-2-2013 Toyota Camry V6, model 2004, km 217,000, KD 2,100. Tel: 99084420, 55037878. (C 4299) Mitsubishi Pajero 2003, golden color, 6 cylinder, excellent condition, 187,000 km, price KD 1,850/-. Contact: 50994848.

MATRIMONIAL Australian man new in Kuwait turn Muslim looking for a Kuwaiti lady must fear God and come from a good family, widow or divorcee no problem. Email: (C 4302) 9-2-2013

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AJIAL.3 SPECIAL 26 (DIG) (Hindi) SPECIAL 26 (DIG) (Hindi) SPECIAL 26 (DIG) (Hindi)

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SITUATION WANTED A European qualified and experienced company coordinator/administrator looking for employment in Kuwait. Speaks 5 languages. (C 4303) Highly qualified experienced British executive looking for a management position in any private company in Kuwait. All offers considered. (C 4304) 11-2-2013

Prayer timings CHANGE OF NAME I, Kotakonda Ramanaiah, S/o, Kotakonda Thimaiah, holder of Indian Passport No. E5873110 converted to Islam do hereby change my name to Abdul Rahman. (C 4305) 12-2-2013
















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stars CROSSWORD 98

STAR TRACK Aries (March 21-April 19)

The period just ahead of you promises a lot of luck and success. The initiatives you will take in your career or personal life will come off without a hitch. You should think about trying some kind of new activity on a professional level. Take advantage of all the good luck in the air. Don’t be afraid to burn the candle at both ends now and live life to the fullest.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

After a recent financial problem, you’ve decided to take the bull by the horns and do what you need to do. You’re used to being in control of a situation, and small financial worries aren’t going to get you down. After all, money isn’t everything. On top of your ability to react to a problem, your originality and self-sacrificing attitude will help you deal with this situation.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)


1. (used as a combining form) Recent or new. 4. Ironing that can be done mechanically. 12. (Irish) Mother of the ancient Irish gods. 15. A resource. 16. A successful womanizer (after a fictional seducer). 17. East Indian tree bearing a profusion of intense vermilion velvet-textured blooms and yielding a yellow dye. 18. Manufactured in standard sizes to be shipped and assembled elsewhere. 19. The universal time coordinated when an event is received on Earth. 20. An Indian tree of the family Combretaceae that is a source of timber and gum. 21. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 22. Smaller than Florida pompano. 25. A light touch or stroke. 27. Mentally or physically infirm with age. 29. A white soft metallic element that tarnishes readily. 30. (Roman mythology) God of love. 33. Make amends for. 34. Frogs, toads, tree toads. 36. Genus of African timber trees. 39. Designer drug designed to have the effects of amphetamines (it floods the brain with serotonin) but to avoid the drug laws. 42. Type genus of the Parulidae. 47. Consisting of or made of wood of the oak tree. 48. Generalized edema with accumulation of serum in subcutaneous connective tissue. 50. Suitable for use as food. 52. Grown for its thickened edible aromatic root. 53. Of or relating to or characteristic of Ghana or its people or language. 54. A colorless and odorless inert gas. 55. Make an etching of. 57. A constellation in the southern hemisphere near Telescopium and Norma. 60. French romantic writer (1766-1817). 62. A member of a Slavic people who settled in Serbia and neighboring areas in the 6th and 7th centuries. 66. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 68. An esoteric or occult matter that is traditionally secret. 71. (Old Testament) In Judeo-Christian mythology. 74. An agency of the United Nations affiliated with the World Bank. 75. An independent group of closely related Chadic languages spoken in the area between the Biu-Mandara and East Chadic languages. 76. Exhibiting the qualities or characteristics that identify a group or kind or category. 77. 10 grams. 78. A primeval personification of air and breath. 79. Comb with a heckle. 80. A period marked by distinctive character or reckoned from a fixed point or event.

DOWN 1. Plant with an elongated head of broad stalked leaves resembling celery. 2. A genus of Mustelidae. 3. A European river. 4. A movable airfoil that is part of an aircraft wing. 5. Ctenophore having tentacles only in the immature stage. 6. A highly unstable radioactive element (the heaviest of the halogen series). 7. A well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world. 8. Having or producing a comfortable and agreeable degree of heat or imparting or maintaining heat. 9. Nicaraguan statesman (born in 1945). 10. A state in New England. 11. A member of an aboriginal people living in the hills in southeastern India. 12. (Babylonian) God of storms and wind. 13. Connected with or belonging to or used in a navy. 14. Jordan's port. 23. An easy return of a tennis ball in a high arc. 24. Medium tall celery pine of New Zealand. 26. Call forth. 28. A human limb. 31. A person given to excessive complaints and crying. 32. Trade name for an oral contraceptive containing estradiol and norgestrel. 35. The clay from which adobe bricks are made. 37. (botany) Of or relating to the axil. 38. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light. 40. A master's degree in library science. 41. Widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions for its fragrant flowers and colorful fruits. 43. A small zodiacal constellation in the northern hemisphere. 44. An indehiscent fruit derived from a single ovary having one or many seeds within a fleshy wall or pericarp. 45. Call upon in supplication. 46. Essential oil or perfume obtained from flowers. 49. Any orchid of the genus Cattleya characterized by a hood-shaped three-lobed lip enclosing the column. 51. Squash bugs. 56. Marked by intense agitation or emotion. 58. Lower in esteem. 59. Large ornamental tropical American tree with bipinnate leaves and globose clusters of flowers with crimson stamens and sweet-pulp seed pods eaten by cattle. 61. Spring-loaded doorlock that can only be opened from the outside with a key. 63. Leave or strike out, as of vowels. 64. Measuring instrument in which the echo of a pulse of microwave radiation is used to detect and locate distant objects. 65. God of wealth and love. 67. Mild yellow Dutch cheese made in balls. 69. (Scottish) Bluish-black or gray-blue. 70. A hollow device made of metal that makes a ringing sound when struck. 72. A hormone produced by the anterior pituitary gland. 73. (usually followed by `to') Naturally disposed toward.

You’re entering a positive period of calm and vitality, Gemini. There’s a harmonic atmosphere. You feel very close to the people you love, and they will show you just how much they care about you. Don’t try and understand the unexpected nature of the wonderful vibe around you. Just live life to the fullest today. Good things don’t always last forever.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Certain people close to you are very demanding today. They may ask you to deal with thankless tasks that use up your precious energy. Avoid spreading yourself too thin if you want to reach your goals. Usually you aren’t afraid of anything. Nothing can get in your way. From now on, take the time to think about things before you act, Cancer. That way, your dreams will come true more quickly.

Leo (July 23-August 22)

You and your friends may have been planning a party for some time. Now you realize it’s entirely up to you to actually make things happen, Leo. It seems that if you’re going to get anywhere, you need to take charge and delegate responsibility. You like to be in this position. Your great creative mind could give you a load of ideas for a party that no one will forget.

Virgo (August 23-September 22)

Luck is finally on your side, Virgo. And you deserve it, because you really worked hard to get these results in your life. In astrology, as in life, you can’t succeed just by sheer luck. Success is often the result of a lot of energy you expend or something you may have changed on the inside. So continue to give off the positive energy that’s responsible for your success.

Word Search

Libra (September 23-October 22)

The stars are pushing you to accept more responsibility in your life. In fact, you may not think you can do it, but everything will work out just fine. At the moment, you seem to have a special gift for leading other people, making decisions, and doing whatever is necessary to finish up group projects. It’s too bad - you really underestimate yourself!

Scorpio (October 23-November 21)

You seem to have the bad habit of putting off until tomorrow what you can do today, Scorpio, especially those little daily things that seem to pile up, like writing letters, paying bills, getting a health checkup, or cleaning the house. However, today is a great day to deal with these monotonous tasks, so seize the moment.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)

When you least expect it, success comes into your life. You can say goodbye to the dreariness of daily routine, fears, and changing moods. You’re now entering a period of wonderful good luck and success. All this comes despite the fact that sometimes you might lack confidence in yourself. That doesn’t matter anymore, because success is on your side from now on.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)

Life just seems to be smiling on you at the moment, Capricorn. Some sort of mystical force has entered your life and is enriching your contact and with other people. It allows you to make a success of anything you undertake. Luck is really on your side, and you’re on cloud nine. Have you made friends with the angels up there yet?

Aquarius (January 20- February 18)

At the moment, Aquarius, the planets are aligned in a way that encourages communication and the written word. Therefore, you may feel like taking the plunge and writing that book you’ve been thinking about for a long time. It will probably be a great success. You’re very gifted when it comes to this kind of creative activity. Go for it and stop making excuses!

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

For a while now, you’ve wanted to change something about your lifestyle or behavior toward the people you love, Pisces. You want your life to go in a new direction, but you don’t want to upset the people around you. Maybe your friends and family want the same thing for you. Do away with your preconceived notions about things and let yourself go with this idea. Yesterday’s Solution

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25726265 25647075 22625999 22564549 25340559 25326554 25721264 25380581 25628241



Tel.: e 161


Cold with light to moderate south easterly to light variable wind, with speed of 06 - 26 km/h with a chance for fog forming at night No Current Warnings arnin a




23 °C

16 °C


25 °C

13 °C


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14 °C



27 °C

14 °C



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27 °C

11 °C




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W Hawally






New Jahra


11/02/2013 0000 UTC

4 DA AYS Y FORECAST Temperatures

West Jahra







clouds to decrease + light rain


Wednesday e


sunny + raising dust



sunny + blowing dust





Wind Direction

Wind Speed

25 °C

11 °C


25 - 45 km/h

21 °C

09 °C


20 - 45 km/h

22 °C

07 °C


20 - 40 km/h

22 °C

07 °C


06 - 26 km/h


South Jahra


North Jahra


North Jleeb




MAX. Temp.

27 °C





MIN. Temp.

10 °C


83 %












MAX. Wind




N Khaitan






All times are local time unless otherwise stated.

14 % SE 39 km/h 00 mm

11/02/13 08:09 UTC



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


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Issue Time

Partly cloudy with light to moderate freshening gradually at times south easterly wind, with speed of 15 - 40 km/h causing raising dust over open areas




Expected Weeather for the Next 24 Hours



Ext.: 2627 262 - 2630

Fax: 24348714



Maidan Hawally




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Internist, Chest & Heart DR.Mohammes Akkad

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


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

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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 F a s h i o n

More coincidence than conspiracy at fashion week D

uring every season of designer previews at New York Fashion Week a few key, quirky items seem to pop up on different runways. They’re not quite trends since one has to think they’re partly for runway effect not retail orders, but they’re part of the style zeitgeist nonetheless. This time there were fur mittens - oversized like boxer mitts - at Alexander Wang and Altuzarra. What were the odds? And how does the ball start rolling on items such as oversized fur mittens, harnesses or sleeveless coats? It’s safe to say designers don’t take a meeting together to decide what direction to go in. “The honest answer is some of it is plain and simple coincidence,” said Cindi Leive, editor in chief of Glamour magazine. “These designers are creating hundreds of looks over the course of a season. It would be more unusual if there were no overlap.” Still, she said, there also are fashion cycles and sociological factors to consider as catwalk collections are prepared. Take fur - both real and fake. Leive said Sunday it has been on every runway so far on this fourth of eight days of fashion week. After the recession, no one was touching fur, she said, but it has slowly made a comeback as people feel a little more comfortable about spending money. The interpretation this go-around has been impactful, with an emphasis on oversized unexpected fur touches such as hoods, handbags and boots, but they’re not as expensive as a full-length coat. It’s important for fashion insiders to be aware of what’s happening in other parts of culture, including politics and art, said Marie Claire executive editor Nina Garcia earlier in the week as she prepared to judge aspiring designers at “Project Runway.” Furstenberg “Successful designers soak it all in,”

she said. Fashion week continues in New York through Thursday, when the influential Marc Jacobs closes out things. Runway previews then move on to London, Milan and Paris.

Tracy Reese

DVF Diane von Furstenberg’s “Glam Rock” collection included wrap dresses, long her calling card, jumpsuits and metallic jackets. It also included high-shine silver leather skinny pants. “The idea is not that it’s clothes for a party, but it’s clothes. It’s life that’s a party - and that was my inspiration,” she said in a backstage interview. She isn’t afraid of prints and color, and there were animal prints, angel wings and birds in a sunset palette dotted by rose gold and silver. Her fall collection had a much less aggressive tone than most of the others. Remember, von Furstenberg is courting the party girl, who’d have places to wear maxi dresses and gold snakeskin jackets. It’s chiffon one minute, leather the next. “Wrapped in a swirl of twisted chain-link, she steps into the night, lights flashing. With an effortless glamour, she winks at herself and smiles at her shadow,” von Furstenberg said in her notes. TRACY REESE There were animal prints all over Tracy Reese’s fall collection. A cheetah-print coat opened the show, paired with a black lace shirt and a charcoal pant. The collection also included a cheetah tunic covering a cheetah skirt, a zebra-print trench over a crepe floral dress and an “animal jacquard” coat in tan and black worn over a sequined sweater. “There are so many cool ways to use animal prints,” Reese said backstage. “Subtle and not so subtle. Even in the beading.” Reese said she hoped women

collection also includes optic white pants and a khaki cotton sleeveless trench worn with a khaki four-button tailored skirt. The silhouette he offers his customers is strong and slim, sometimes with a little bump at the hip. “The design and construction emphasize the nip of the waist and exaggerate the hip, while shrunken proportions mixed with a bolder shoulder volume sharpen the classic silhouette,” he says in describing the shape.

Diane Von Furstenberg

would become bolder about mixing prints like pairing an animal print with a floral. “Most women like to wear only one print at a time. But I like to mix them, and I wanted to open up the conversation a bit.” Her collection also included a floral-printed neoprene frock in pink, orange and black and a sleek black kneelength number with huge red flowers on it, its dainty shape contrasting nicely with the boldness of the print.

JOSEPH ALTUZARRA Joseph Altuzarra’s urban, confident, fashionforward customer wears graphic black-andwhite leather - layers it on, in fact - and then there’s the fox or mink fur on top. She’s not shy about drawing attention in fur mittens, shiny grommet embellishment and strategically placed zippers. She wears her high-waisted trousers with a low-slung belt. His fall-winter

CHRISTIAN SIRIANO The “Project Runway” alum used the Russian opera as the inspiration for his fall runway show, using a book of Russian opera houses as reference. The girl wearing this collection, he said, was on her way to see the Russian opera. “I wanted it to be a story of what she wears during the day, what she’ll wear for a cocktail dress, what she’ll wear to the opera,” he said. His vintage-inspired day looks evoke many eras, from the 1940s to the 1960s, and were mostly separates of turtlenecks paired with loose leather trousers and faux fur vests in muted colors such as white, black and camel. One ensemble included a pointed-toe flat in a penny loafer style, a surprise inclusion given fashion’s love for the high heel. Siriano explained it as a way to ensure its wearability, and also because he “wanted it to be a bit more demure, a bit simple.” Other shoes in the collection included bootie heels and heeled penny loafers with gold trim, echoing the filigree that anchored many of the evening dresses that closed the show.—AP

Joseph Altuzarra

Grammy red carpet still features plenty of skin


warning not to show too much skin didn’t seem to deter the stars out Sunday for the Grammy Awards. Jennifer Lopez was among those showing off thigh-high - or higher openings in their dresses, and she joked about it as she took the stage to present an award. Katy Perry showed down-tothere cleavage in a seafoam gown. CBS put out a memo earlier in the week asking that “buttocks and female breasts are adequately covered” for the televised award show. The memo sent out Wednesday also warned against “seethrough clothing,” exposure of “the genital region” and said that “thong type costumes are problematic.” Miranda Lambert revealed some leg and laughed about the memo. “I thought it was funny,” she said. “Country music has never really been a problem with that.” Singer-songwriter Skylar Grey let out an “oops!” when asked about the guidelines. “I had to show the side boob,” she said. “What are they gonna do, kick me off?” Andrew Dost of fun. said he read the memo, “but all we wanted to do is go as classy and timeless as possible.”

Bandmate Jack Antonoff joked that he was “showing off a lot of ankle” with his high pants that exposed his sockless look. Rihanna seemed to get the memo: The usually provocative star covered up in an elegant red gown. Taylor Swift wore a prim gold metallic floral cocktail dress by Jenny Packham to the pre-telecast awards before changing into something a bit more revealing for the red carpet. Beyonce wore a modest pantsuit. All three won early awards in the pre-telecast. “I think it’s just, you know, we should always stay classy and dress according to the event that’s being held,” Ashanti said on the red carpet. “So I don’t think people should be limited so much and told what you can and cannot do. But, you know, you do have to have a certain class and prestige about yourself.” Even Ashanti, though, revealed a fair amount of leg and cleavage. Hey, this isn’t the Oscars. Comedian Kathy Griffin joked about the fashion warning. “I’m here to watch all the pomp and circumstance,” she said. “You want to see a lack of underwear. I’m open to all the forbidden parts.”—AP

Rihanna arrives at the 55th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday in Los Angeles.—AP



LIFESTYLE A w a r d s

‘Argo’ named best film at Britain’s Oscars

Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck and George Clooney pose with the Best Film award presenter Samuel L Jackson after they won the award for their film Argo during the annual BAFTA British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Opera House in London. —AFP photos

Award presenter and US actor Bradley Cooper, Robert Wade, director Sam Mendes, Barbara Broccoli, Michael G Wilson and Neal Purvis, and presenter and US actor Ben Affleck pose in the Press Room after winning Outstanding British Film award for ‘Skyfall’.


ran-hostage drama “Argo” continued its journey from awards-season outsider to favorite Sunday, winning three prizes, including best-picture, at the British Academy Film Awards. Ben Affleck was named best director for the based-on-reality story of a longshot plan to rescue a group of American diplomats from Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and the film also took the editing trophy. Affleck, who has made a remarkable journey from little-regarded actor to award-winning director, dedicated his directing prize to “anyone out there who’s trying to get their second act.” George Clooney, a producer of “Argo,” quipped: “I don’t know what you’re going to do for a third act.” Daniel Day-Lewis won his universally expected best-actor trophy for “Lincoln” - the only prize out of 10 nominations for Steven Spielberg’s historical biopic. Day-Lewis - a famously intense actor who reportedly stayed in character as the 16th US President throughout the “Lincoln” shoot cracked a joke as he was given his prize. He said that in anticipation of having to make an acceptance speech, “I’ve actually stayed in character as myself for the last 55 years.” Emmanuelle Riva, the 85-year-old French film legend, was named best actress for Michael Haneke’s poignant old-age portrait “Amour.” It also was named best foreignlanguage film. Made-in-Britain French revolutionary musical “Les Miserables” won four prizes, including best supporting actress for Anne Hathaway. James Bond adventure “Skyfall” spied some elusive awards recognition, winning trophies for music and best British film. The British awards, known as BAFTAs, are increasingly glamorous - despite a wellearned reputation for dismal weather - and ever-more scrutinized as an indicator of likely success at the Hollywood Oscars. In recent years they have prefigured Academy Awards triumph for word-of-mouth hits such as “Slumdog Millionaire,” “The King’s Speech” and “The Artist.” This year they spread their honors widely, with multiple trophies for “Life of Pi,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Amour” and “Django Unchained,” as well as “Argo.”

Winners of the 2013 British Academy Film Awards

Thomas Newman, winner of Original Film Music for ‘Skyfall’, poses in the press room with presenters David Morrissey and Paloma Faith.

British actor Daniel Day-Lewis poses with the award for best leading actor for his performance in the film Lincoln.

Mendes said he was accepting the trophy on behalf of the “1,292 people” who worked on “Skyfall.” “We all had high expectations for this film and it’s fair to say all of them have been exceeded,” Mendes said. “Here’s to the next 50 years.” Quentin Tarantino picked up the original screenplay award for “Django Unchained,” and Christoph Waltz was named best supporting actor for playing a loquacious bounty hunter in Tarantino’s slave-revenge thriller. Waltz said his victory was entirely due to Tarantino - “you silver-penned devil, you.” Tarantino also revealed that he plans another film that sets out to right an historical wrong, after anti-Nazi saga “Inglourious Basterds” and “Django Unchained.” “I think there is something about this that begs a trilogy,” he said. “I don’t know what the third one’s going to be yet.” Hathaway said she was “overjoyed” at being named best supporting actress for her brief but powerhouse performance in “Les Miserables.” She said she was so taken aback that “I almost walked past George Clooney without

hugging him.” She also expressed sympathy for co-star Eddie Redmayne, who had been due to present an award but - co-presenter Sally Field informed the audience - was vomiting backstage. “Feel better,” Hathaway said. “I mean I’d be holding your hair back, but, you know...” Writer-director David O. Russell won the adapted screenplay prize for “Silver Linings Playbook,” a comedy about characters confronting mental illness. “Les Mis” also took trophies for production design, sound and makeup/hair, and “Life of Pi” received honors for cinematography and visual effects. Before the ceremony, stars including Clooney, Affleck, Hugh Jackman, Samuel L. Jackson, Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper braved a chilly rain that turned to snow outside the Royal Opera House. For once it was hair, even more than frocks, that drew attention - many stars opted for dark colors, though Marion Cotillard defied the dull weather in a canary-yellow gown. Beards were de rigeur among male stars including Clooney,

Kathryn Bigelow’s Osama bin Laden thriller “Zero Dark Thirty” was shut out of the prizes, despite five nominations. This season’s movie with momentum is crowd-pleaser “Argo,” which has been building steam with big prizes at ceremonies such as the Golden Globes, the Producers Guild and the Directors Guild of America Awards. It is now considered a front-runner for the best picture award at the Oscars on Feb. 24, even though Affleck was not nominated for best director there. “Argo” marks a change for Affleck, whose first two features as director “Gone Baby Gone” and “The Town” - were set in his native Boston. In “Argo” he stars as Tony Mendez, a CIA agent who poses as a sci-fi filmmaker in a risky plot to rescue Americans in Tehran. “I wanted to get as far away from Boston as I could,” Affleck said. “I ended up in Iran.” “Skyfall,” the highest-grossing film in the Bond series’ 50-year history, was named best British film - rare awards-season recognition for an action movie. Thomas Newman’s score also won the best music prize. Director Sam

Austrian-German actor Christoph US actor and award presenter John C Reilly and actress Sarah Waltz poses with the award for best Silverman pose with British actress Juno Temple after presentsupporting actor for his role in ing her with the Rising Star Award. ‘Django Unchained’.

Film - “Argo” British Film - “Skyfall” Director - Ben Affleck, “Argo” Actor - Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln.” Actress - Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour” Supporting Actor - Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained” Supporting Actress - Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables” Rising Star - Juno Temple British Debut - Bart Layton and Dimitri Doganis, “The Imposter” Original Screenplay - Quentin Tarantino, “Django Unchained” Adapted Screenplay - David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook” Film Not in the English Language - “Amour” Music - Thomas Newman, “Skyfall” Cinematography - “Life of Pi” Editing - “Argo” Production Design - Eve Stewart, Anna Lynch-Robinson, “Les Miserables” Costume Design - “Anna Karenina” Sound - “Les Miserables” Visual Effects - “Life of Pi” Makeup and Hair - “Les Miserables” Animated Feature - “Brave” Short Film - “Swimmer” Short Animation - “The Making of Longbird” Documentary - “Searching for Sugar Man” Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema - Tessa Ross Academy Fellowship - Alan Parker —AP Affleck and Cooper, while Helen Mirren turned heads with a pink ‘do, sported in honor of breast cancer awareness. Sunday’s ceremony also saw director Alan Parker receive a BAFTA Fellowship, the academy’s highest honor, for a career that includes “Midnight Express,” “Fame” and “Mississippi Burning.” —AP

US director Quentin Tarantino poses with US actress Anne Hathaway poses Taiwanese-born US film director Ang Lee the award for best original screenplay for with the award for best support- poses with the award for best director ing actress for her performance in for his work on the film Life of Pi. his work on the film Django Unchained. the film Les Miserables.

David ORussell poses with presenters Jennifer Garner and Simon Pegg after winning the Adapted Screenplay award for his film Silver Linings Playbook.

Eve Stewart and Anna Lynch-Robinson pose with the award for best production design for their work on the film Les Miserables.

British actor Ben Whishaw and British actress Alice Eve pose with Jacqueline Durran after presenting her with the Best Costume Design Award for her work on the film Anna Karenina.

Peter Carlton and Diarmid Scrimshaw, winners of the Short Film award for ‘Swimmer’, pose in the press room with presenters Helen McCrory and Rafe Spall.

Tessa Ross poses with her British film director, producer and Outstanding British Contribution writer Alan Parker poses with his to Cinema award. BAFTA fellowship award.

Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman pose with the award for best animated film for their work on ‘Brave’.

(From left) Donald R Elliott , Guillaume Rocheron, Bill Westenhofer and Erik-Jan De Boer, winners of the Special Visual Effects for their work on the film Life of Pi.


lifestyle A w a r d s

(From left) Musicians Ben Lovett, Marcus Mumford, Ted Dwane and Winston Marshall of Mumford & Sons accept Album of the Year award for ‘Babel’ with presenter Adele onstage at the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 10, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. — AFP photos

Singer Gotye, winner of Best Alternative Music Album for ‘Making Mirrors’ and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for ‘Somebody That I Used to Know.’

(From left) Nate Ruess, Andrew Dost and Jack Antonoff accept the award for song of the year for ‘We Are Young’.


Singer Kelly Clarkson accepts Best Pop Vocal Album award for ‘Stronger’.

Singer Adele accepts Best Pop Solo Performance for ‘Set Fire to the Rain (Live)’.

Singer Kelly Clarkson performs onstage.

Musicians Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney of the Black Keys accept Best Rock Performance for ‘Lonely Boy’.

Mumford & Sons perform on stage.

Musicians Gotye, Kimbra and William Bowden accept Record of the Year award for ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’.

ndie pop band fun., rockers The Black Keys and Australian-Belgian singer Gotye shared the top prizes at the Grammys on Sunday, in an eclectic year for the music industry’s biggest awards show. New York-based fun. won Song of the Year for “We Are Young” as well as best new artist at the 55th Grammy Awards held at the Staples Center amid tight security as Los Angeles police hunt a former cop wanted for multiple murders. British rockers Mumford & Sons took Album of the Year with “Babel,” while Gotye won Record of the Year for “Somebody That I Used to know,” featuring Kimbra. “I feel like it’s my 21st birthday,” said fun. frontman Nate Ruess, noting that he was actually 30 years old and that the band had been going for 12 years, but had nothing against being named best new artist. The night saw several pairings of the music world’s younger and older generations: Sting singing with reggae legend Bob Marley’s children; Elton John with fellow Brit Ed Sheeran; and Prince handing a prize to Gotye. Overall The Black Keys won the most Grammys, with four-best rock performance, best rock song and best rock album for the band, and producer of the year, non-classical, for singer Dan Auerbach. Gotye took home three trophies-Record of the Year, best pop duo/group performance and best alternative album-as did Jay-Z and Kanye West, who triumphed for best rap performance, rap/sung collaboration and rap song. Not only was “Somebody That I Used to Know” one of the biggestselling singles of last year, it has also scored nearly 400 million views on YouTube, demonstrating the advertising power of the Internet platform. “I’m really at a loss for what to say after receiving an award from the man standing behind us with a cane,” said Gotye, referring to pop star Prince, who announced the category winner. “I feel blessed to be part of this award, and I couldn’t share it with anyone more amazing than this artist here,” added Kimbra. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Gotye was “an outstanding example of the quality of the artistic talent in Australia today”. Taylor Swift opened the show as a ringmaster in white hot pants and a spangly top hat, with a circus-themed performance of her hit “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” On a night when performers and presenters were warned not to show too much skin, Jennifer Lopez provided the first fashion moment of the telecast, baring a toned leg and shoulder in an asymmetrical black Anthony Vaccarello gown. “As you can see, I read the memo!” she joked when she came on stage to present the first award of the night with Pitbull, referring to the leaked letter from broadcasters CBS about the dress code. British songstress Adele-who scored a clean sweep with six Grammys last year-won that first prize, for best solo performance for a live rendition of her hit “Set

Fire to the Rain.” “My good luck charm, J-Lo,” she said as she accepted the award from Lopez. “This is amazing. I wanted to come and be part of the night. I loved it last year, obviously.” Other highlights of the three-and-a-half hour show included a rousing tribute to Marley, featuring Sting, Bruno Mars, Rihanna and Ziggy, Stephen and Damian Marley. They segued from Hawaiian-born Mars’ hit “Locked out of Heaven” into ex-Police frontman Sting’s reggae-rhythmed “Walking on the Moon,” before breaking into Marley’s classic “Could You Be Loved?” Heartthrob Justin Timberlake also brought the house down with a couple of songs from his new album “The 20/20 Experience,” starting with “Suit and Tie” in which he was suitably attired. As the telecast went briefly black and white, he was joined by Jay-Z to sing “Pusher Lover Girl.” In a two-hour pre-telecast show, Paul McCartney won for best traditional pop vocal album for “Kisses on the Bottom,” while Beyonce won best traditional R&B performance for “Love on Top.” A frail-looking Beach Boy Brian Wilson was honored for best historical album and late Indian sitar legend Ravi Shankar won best world music album for “The Living Room Sessions Part 1.”

Rapper Wiz Khalifa and singer Miguel perform onstage.

Ellen DeGeneres and Beyonce speak on the stage.

Musician Frank Ocean performs onstage.

Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z perform on stage.

Singer Beyonce, winner Best Traditional R&B Performance.


lifestyle A w a r d s

Album of the Year:“Babel” - Mumford & Sons Record of the Year:“Somebody That I Used To Know” - Gotye featuring Kimbra Song of the Year:“We Are Young” - fun. Best New Artist: fun. Best Rock Song:“Lonely Boy” - The Black Keys Best Rock Album: “El Camino” - The Black Keys Best R&B Song:“Adorn” - Miguel Best R&B Album:“Black Radio” - Robert Glasper Experiment Best R&B Performance:“Climax” - Usher Best Traditional R&B Performance:“Love on Top” - Beyonce Best Urban Contemporary Album:“Channel Orange” - Frank Ocean Best Pop Performance, Solo:“Set Fire to the Rain (live)” - Adele Best Pop Performance, Duo or Group:“Somebody That I Used to Know” - Gotye featuring Kimbra Best Pop Vocal Album:“Stronger” - Kelly Clarkson Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album:“Kisses On The Bottom” - Paul McCartney Best Rap Song:“Ni**as In Paris” - Jay-Z & Kanye West Best Rap Album: “Take Care” - Drake Best World Music Album:“The Living Room Sessions Part 1” - Ravi Shankar Best Alternative Music Album:“Making Mirrors” - Gotye Best Orchestral Performance: “Adams: Harmonielehre & Short Ride In A Fast Machine” - San Francisco Symphony Best Opera Recording:“Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen” - The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, The Metropolitan Opera Chorus Best Jazz Instrumental Album: “Unity Band” - Pat Metheny Unity Band Best Country Song: “Blown Away” - Carrie Underwood Best Country Album: “Uncaged” - Zac Brown Band Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance: “Love Bites (So Do I)” - Halestorm Best New Age Album:“Echoes of Love” - Omar Akram — AFP

Rapper Jay-Z poses in the press room with his trophies.

Musician Anoushka Shankar accepts Best World Music Album for ‘The Living Room Sessions Part 1’ on behalf of her father, the late Ravi Shankar.

Composer Omar Akram, winner of Best New Age Music for ‘Echoes of Love’.

Musicians Quetzal, winner Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative album for ‘Imaginaries’.

In the main Grammy show’s traditional In Memoriam segment, John, Mumford & Sons and others paid tribute to Levon Helm, the late drummer and singer with The Band. Organizers hoped to avoid drama which the Grammys seem to attractlast year with the death of Whitney Houston on the eve of the show; and a few years before with the infamous Chris Brown-Rihanna domestic assault. There was minor drama on the eve of the

Hip-hop artist Drake arrives at the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards.

Singer Carrie Underwood accepts Best Country Solo Performance award for ‘Blown Away’.

Musicians Frank Ocean, Jay-Z and The-Dream accept Best Rap/Sung Collaboration award for ‘No Church in the Wild’.

Singer Carrie Underwood performs onstage.

Frank Ocean accepts the award for best urban contemporary album.

Musician Juanes performs onstage.

Musician Pat Metheny, winner of Best Jazz Instrumental Album.

Skrillex, winner Best Remixed Recording, Non-classical, Best Dance Recording for ‘Bangarang’ and Best Dance/Electronica Album for ‘Bangarang’.

Musicians Derrick Hodge, Chris Dave, Robert Glasper and Casey Bengamin, winners of Best R&B Album for ‘Black Radio’.

Grammys, when Brown wrecked his Porsche in Beverly Hills on Saturday, and blamed paparazzi. The LA Police Department, as well as helping provide security for the Grammys, have been involved in a massive manhunt for an excop accused of killing three people and threatening to kill more officers. — \AFP

Musicians Graham Sharp, Nicky Sanders, Charles R Humphrey III, Woody Platt and Mike Guggino of Steep Canyon Rangers, winners of Best Bluegrass Album ‘Nobody Knows You’.

Erica Campbell and Warryn Campbell, winners of Best Gospel Song for ‘Go Get It.’

The Black Keys and Dr. John Preservation Hall Jazz Band perform on stage.

Jazz musician Chick Corea, winner of Best Improvised Jazz Solo for ‘Hot House’ and Best Instrumental Composition for ‘Mozart Goes Dancing.’

Bonnie Raitt, winner of Best Americana Album.

Phillip Sweet, Kimberly Schlapman, Jimi Westbrook and Karen Fairchild, winner Best Country Duo/Group Performance for ‘Pontoon’.

Singer Juanes, winner of Best Latin Pop Album.

Singer/Musician Taylor Swift, winner of Best Song Written For Visual Media.

Grammys shared among many on music’s big night



Caspian Gull

Grey Horn

Greater Flamingoes — Photos by Sherif Ismail

By Sherif Ismail


irds decide to migrate in the period between the egg-laying and hatching season in spring and the cold winter seeking warmth and better living conditions. This probably makes Kuwait and its moderate climate an ideal sanctuary for over 400 migrating bird species. Some of these birds fly over 50,000 km all year long and some of them keep flying non-stop for up to 100 hours. They can tell their destination through magnetic fields and strong sunshine. They can also find their way using the stars, such as the North Star (Pole Star) regardless of clear or cloudy skies that never affect their ability to find their destinations. Some bird types can fly non-stop long distances day and night, which enables them to cross large stretches 2000-3000 km wide, such as the Sahara, without food or water. Notably, these birds usually have a meal rich in fats before starting this journey.

Birds fly in certain formations that vary during journeys. Having a closer look, one will find that bird swarms usually gather behind one leader, such as the case of the flamingo, who take the same route to and fro. Older birds are usually responsible for teaching their chicks various skills during the migration. The most famous migrating birds that stop by in Kuwait include Common Shelducks, Greater Flamingo, Western White Storks, Grey Horns, Socotra Cormorants, Caspian and Great Black Headed and Common Gulls.

Western White Stork

Socotra Cormorant

Common Mediterranean Gull

Great Black Headed flies over Al-Hamra Tower


Combination of two pictures made yesterday shows two versions of the painting “Oracion en el huerto” (Agony in the Garden), the original one supposedly by painter Colart de Laon, and the restored version at El Prado museum in Madrid. Spain’s Prado art museum yesterday unveiled a previously unseen jewel of French painting in which experts found a rare image of the historic French ruler Louis of Orleans.

Photo shows the restored painting “Oracion en el huerto” (Agony in the Garden) (above) supposedly by painter Colart de Laon at El Prado museum in Madrid. — AFP photos

pain’s Prado art museum yesterday unveiled a newly discovered jewel of French painting in which experts found a rare image of the historic French ruler Louis of Orleans. When the Madrid museum received it from a private family in 2011, the 15th-century painting “Prayers in the Orchard” showed just Jesus and three apostles watched over by God in a starry blue sky. But when experts scanned it and then removed layers of brown paint in the bottom left corner, they revealed a bald, red-haired nobleman in a red robe, accompanied by a female saint in green. The insignia of golden nettle leaves on his sleeves identified the man as Louis of Orleans. The woman is Saint Agnes, a patron saint associated with his family. It is one of only a handful of surviving pictures of the duke, and the only one painted on wood, said the museum, which called it “one of the most important finds in French primitive painting”. Its fine quality and the rarity of works of its kind-many of which were destroyed in the French Revolution-make it “a little gem with great historical significance”, the Prado said in a statement. “The great value of this work is that it is really unique,” said Maria Antonia Lopez de Asiain, who worked on restoring the painting for a year with a microsope and lancet. “It is not often that a primitive work like this is so well preserved.”

The duke acted as regent around the turn of the 15th century, standing in for his indisposed brother Charles the Mad. Louis was assassinated in 1407 on the orders of his cousin and rival for power, John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy. The museum said that the king’s posture in the picture, according to painterly conventions, identified him or his family as the patron of the work. He holds a scroll inscribed with a funeral prayer, suggesting the painting may have been ordered by his family shortly after his death. Painted in tempera on wood, the picture measures only 56 cm by 42 cm (about 22 by 17 inches), suggesting it may have been used in a private shrine, the museum said. The museum believes it to be the work of Colart de Laon, the duke’s personal painter and valet. — AFP

12 Feb 2013  

Kuwait Times