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conclude military drills


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8Peninsula 10 Shield 40 forces 20 War games aim to bolster Gulf defense, unity

Max 26º Min 11º High Tide 00:20 & 13:25 Low Tide 07:14 & 19:23

KUWAIT: Military jet fighters take part in a military exercise at Udaira military range yesterday as part of joint GCC military exercises during celebrations to mark Kuwait’s 52nd Independence Day and the 22nd Liberation Day. (Inset) A military helicopter takes part in a military exercise. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat (See Page 6) KUWAIT: Joint Gulf forces - the Peninsula Shield - ended yesterday their 17-day war games in Kuwait meant to raise the force’s efficiency and preparedness to protect the Arabian Gulf states. “The joint work and harmony among GCC forces have reached an advanced level,” HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah told reporters following the final stage of the ninth GCC military maneuvers. “The full preparedness and professionalism of Kuwaiti and other GCC forces are a source of pride for GCC people and leaderships.” Sheikh Jaber conveyed to the participating forces the greetings of HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and HH the Deputy Amir and Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AlSabah. The exercises comprised training operations within the system of joint defense of the land, air, sea and air defense forces of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council. “The Peninsula Shield war games aim at bolstering military cooperation, the application of the joint defense strategy, development of the sense of collective securi-

ty and unity among GCC countries,” Deputy Chief of Staff of Kuwaiti Army Lt Gen Abdelrahman Al-Othman said. “It also sends a clear message that the GCC states are ready to protect their security, stability sovereignty and activate the concept of joint defense,” he added. Othman spoke high about the outstanding performance of the different military units during the joint exercises. Meanwhile, the Peninsula Shield Force Commander Maj Gen Mutlaq bin Salem Al-Azima thanked all participating military units on their performance. “The impressive success of this maneuver is the fruit of non-stop cooperation among GCC militaries and the high professionalism and training of GCC forces’ personnel,” Azima said. Azima also described the Peninsula Shield as a force of stability and peace in the region. “GCC forces do not flex muscles or impose a threat on any country, but rather they are a force of stability and peace in the region and the whole world, as are led by wise peaceloving leaders,” he said.

Azima reiterated that the Peninsula Shield exercises in Kuwait was prescheduled and had nothing to do with recent developments in the region. “Peninsula Shield annual exercises are planned in advance till 2024,” he said, adding that the tenth military maneuver will be held in Saudi Arabia. Azima expressed gratitude for Kuwaiti political and military leaderships for employing all potentials to render the exercise a success. Saudi Army Chief of Staff Gen Hussein Al-Qubail said the wellplanned maneuver was precisely implemented. Bahraini Chief of Staff Maj Gen Duaij bin Salman Al-Khalifa said the exercise is the best response to any force that dares to threaten GCC stability. “The welltrained and well-equipped GCC force has the ability to deter any enemy and protect the GCC states,” he said. The Peninsula Shield force was formed by the six GCC member states - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates - in 1982 as a 5,000-strong force but has since expanded to more than 30,000 troops— KUNA

Egypt balloon crash kills 19 Film uses light to power cellphones

ALMATY: EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili meet on the sidelines of talks on Iran’s nuclear program in this Kazakh city yesterday. — AFP

World powers, Iran trade offers at talks ALMATY, Kazakhstan: World powers and Iran yesterday exchanged offers at “useful” talks in Kazakhstan aimed at breaking a decade of deadlock over Tehran’s disputed nuclear drive. The meeting in the Kazakh city of Almaty comes as sanctions bite against the Islamic republic and Israel still refuses to rule out air strikes to knock out Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons drive. There was no hint of an initial breakthrough with the first round of closed-door meetings stretching late into yesterday evening as the parties agreed to resume the talks on Wednesday. “ We had a useful meeting today. Discussions took place this evening,

(and) we are meeting again tomorrow,” said a Western official. “We hope very much that the Iranian side comes back (on Wednesday) showing flexibility and a willingness to negotiate,” added the spokesman for EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton. “The ball is very much in their court,” Michael Mann stressed. A Western source said the world powers are offering Iran permission to resume its gold and precious metals trade as well as some international banking activity which are currently under sanctions. Iran in exchange will have to limit sensitive uranium enrichment operations that the world powers fear could be used Continued on Page 12

BARCELONA: A transparent film that costs just one euro ($1.30) to make could bring an end to the anguish of mobile phone users facing the dreaded dead-battery message. Wysips, a startup based in Aixen-Provence, southern France, has developed a photovoltaic film which can be built seamlessly into a mobile phone screen and deliver the joy of life to a flat battery. At the world’s biggest mobile fair in Barcelona, Spain, the gadget was luring interest from handset manufacturers and its inventors said they hoped the first mobiles equipped with the Wysips film will be in BARCELONA: A worker of stores by the end of this Wysips shines a torch on the year. screen of a prototype of a Wysips chief execusmartphone equipped with tive Ludovic Deblois a photovoltaic film. — AFP showed off a prototype of a smartphone equipped with the film at the Mobile World Congress. By just shining a torch on its screen, the mobile’s battery icon showed that it had started to recharge. “With 10 minutes in the sun you will be able to communicate for two minutes. To recharge completely you will have to expose it for six hours, so our technology is not necessarily for a full recharge but rather for an energy boost for specific applications,” Deblois said. — AFP (See Page 27)

LUXOR: A general view shows the hot air balloon (left) that exploded and plunged to earth amongst others balloons leaving a launch site near Egypt’s ancient temple city prior to the incident yesterday. — AFP LUXOR, Egypt: A hot air balloon exploded and plunged to earth at Egypt’s ancient temple city of Luxor during a sunrise flight yesterday, killing up to 19 tourists, including Asians and Europeans, sources said. The balloon carrying 21 tourists from Hong Kong, Japan, France, Britain and Hungary was flying at 300 m when it caught fire and exploded, a security official said. The pilot and one tourist survived by jumping out of the basket moments before it hit the ground, said an employee at the company operating the balloon, Sky Cruise. Both were taken to hospital. “This is terrible, just terrible,” the employee told AFP by telephone, declining to give her name. “We don’t yet know

what happened exactly or what went wrong.” Luxor Governor Ezzat Saad imposed an immediate ban on all hot air balloon flights in the province as Prime Minister Hisham Qandil ordered an investigation into the accident. Security services cordoned off the scene of the crash in Luxor’s dense sugar cane fields, as police and residents inspected the charred remains of the balloon. “There was a terrifying sound when the balloon exploded,” one resident, Ahmed, 40, told AFP. “Bodies engulfed in flames were falling out of the balloon,” said Youssef Al-Tayyeb, another resident who witnessed the accident. Continued on Page 12



Municipality clamps down on unlicensed vendors Campaign covers coastal regions KUWAIT: Emergency teams of Kuwait Municipality, during the two days of the national occasions, took punitive measures against unlicensed vendors, mingling among crowds of revelers of the national anniversaries, and confiscated items they were dealing in, including food products, toy water guns and bogus perfumes. The head of the teams, Tareq Al-Gattan, said in a statement yesterday, the confiscation campaign covered coastal regions and some districts in the capital, indicating that security personnel aided the municipal teams in carrying out this operation. He indicated that such campaigns are necessary during the national celebrations to spare the revelers inconveniences

caused by presence of the large number of these seasonal traders. He also hinted at suspicious quality of the items these mobile dealers promote. The emergency team of the municipality is reachable via a special hotline. Meanwhile, representative of the Ahmadi Governorate, General Coordinator of national celebrations, Bader Shoail highlighted that the governorates’ national celebrations this year showed a huge turnout. Shoail told the press on the sidelines of celebrations held in “Kuwait Magic” including a Heritage Village and national entertainment festival last night that “celebrations continue as March 7th will witness the Ahmadi carnival at Al-Koot Mall, in addition to Ahmadi bicycles and

running tournaments.” He noted that celebrations in Ahmadi this year were illustrated by various festivities in the heritage village and children’s festival, in addition to musical parades and competitions for children, and vintage car show. He thanked the Ministry of Education in Ahmadi and Ministry of Interior represented in the Security Directorate of Ahmadi and both traffic and patrol departments, in addition to the Ministry of Health represented in the management of medical emergencies, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor and Kuwait Municipality and all those who contributed to the success of events. Meanwhile, Kuwaiti diplomatic missions in several countries yesterday continued cel-

ebrating Kuwait’s 52nd Independence Day, 22nd liberation day, and the seventh anniversary of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AlSabah’s assumption of office. In Khartoum, Kuwait Ambassador Suleiman Al-Harbi hosted a reception to mark the national days. Al-Harbi congratulated the Kuwaiti leadership and people on these occasions. He thanked the guests for kindly responding to the invitation to the reception and sharing the joy with the Kuwaiti people. Kuwait’s embassy and consulate in Islamabad and Karachi respectively, hosted receptions in celebrations of Kuwait’s national festivities. Kuwait’s Ambassador to Pakistan

Nawaf Al-Enizi and Kuwaiti General Consulate in Karachi Nasser Al-Mutairi both expressed best wishes for the Kuwaiti people and government on this occasion. The Kuwaiti embassy in Serbia hosted a reception evening in the presence of President Tomislav Nikolic’ and other guests. Kuwait Ambassador to Serbia Fawzi Al-Jassem and the diplomatic staff of the embassy welcomed the senior guests, and thanked them for partaking in Kuwait’s national celebrations. The General Kuwaiti Consulates in Istanbul and Quanzhou, headed by Sheikh Fahad Salem Al-Sabah Al-Nasser Al-Sabah and Abdulwahab Al-Saqer respectively, also held similar events celebrating Kuwait’s national festivities. — KUNA

Roommates held in Kuwaiti student’s death KUWAIT: While investigations are still on into the death of a Kuwaiti student in the United Arab Emirates, authorities in Sharjah arrested his two roommates who admitted to their involvement in the physical assault that ultimately led to his death, according to news reports published yesterday. Mubarak Al-Adwani, 18, died on Sunday after he had fallen unconscious while on his way home back from the University of Sharjah where he had enrolled only two weeks ago. Doctors at the hospital later declared he had died of internal bleeding. According to students questioned on the campus, Al-Adwani appeared exhausted on the day of his death and marks from beatings were found all over his body. This led investigators to conclude that he was subjected to torture. Hence, his two roommates were detained. The two Kuwaiti students, one of whom was identified as a member of the ruling family, eventually confessed to beating the victim for three straight days and also recording video footage of the attack. The reason for their assault remains unknown. Investigators also learnt about a third suspect in the case who remained at large. According to lawyer Fayez Al-Thufairi who followed up the case after being notified by the National Union of Kuwait Students, the suspects’ confession came after they gave contradictory statements during interrogation. Also, traces of blood were found on the clothes that one of them wore. “[Al-Adwani] was diagnosed at the hospital with several contusions and broken

bones as a result of torture, in addition to burn marks on his soles,” Al-Thufairi told AlRai on Monday. Kuwait’s cultural attachÈ Saleh Yassin confirmed the case about which, he said, he had learnt after a call from the NUKS. He said that the victim was hospitalized by his roommate, and added that “detailed information remained with the UAE’s public prosecution department.” Meanwhile, the President of the NUKS - UAE Branch, Hamad Al-Awadhi, said that they are following up with authorities in Sharjah regarding the case. Kuwait’s Consul in Dubai and Northern UAE, Tarqi Al-Hamad, said in the meantime that a representative from the Consulate was sent to the hospital and later the police station after learning about the incident. He added that “we are awaiting results of the investigations.” The case sparked reactions back home with several politicians demanding investigations to determine the circumstances behind the death. “The Foreign Ministry is required to follow up the case and verify whether foul play was involved,” MP Khalid Al-Shulaimi said. Meanwhile, former MP Dr. Waleed AlTabtabaei called the FM to send “a security and a legal team to the UAE as soon as possible to verify the circumstances leading to Al-Adwani’s death.” Former lawmaker Badr Al-Dahoum claimed information about the “conspirators” whom he threatened to expose “if the murderers are not identified and held accountable.” Former MP Falah Al-Sawagh also called for “clarifications” from the Foreign Ministry. — Al-Rai

Border encroachment removed KUWAIT: Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior for Border Security Maj Gen Sheikh Mohammed Al-Yousuf Al-Sabah continued here yesterday his inspection tours on the Kuwait-Iraq border to follow the completion of the maintenance of border signs which are carried out under the supervision of a United Nations team. Al-Sabah expressed in a press statement during the inspection tour his delight for what he saw of the achievements made towards the routine maintenance of border signs by the said team. He added that these achievements take place in an atmosphere of fraternal cooperation between the Kuwaiti and Iraqi sides, praising the efforts of the Iraqi side in this regard. For its part, the specialized team removed some border encroachment in some locations on the borders of the State of Kuwait and the Republic of Iraq. The team has also completed erection of a tube at the encroachment sites and connected it with a tube that had pre-existed under the supervision of the United Nations team and in the presence of security leaders from both sides. — KUNA



Filipinos in Kuwait hope for a ‘Pinoy pope’ Bastion of Catholicism in Asia By Ben Garcia

KUWAIT: The site of the tent fire in Mutlaa desert yesterday.

Two young girls killed in camp fire in Mutlaa By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: Two young girls were killed while their parents and sister were injured in a fire that broke out in one of the camps in the desert of Mutlaa north of the country yesterday. Kuwait Fire Service Directorate (KFSD) said in a press statement that firefighters managed to extinguish the fire that destroyed three tents and a vehicle in the desert of Mutlaa north of the country which killed two young girls and injured

their parents and their 12-year-old sister. The KFSD added that the first tent caught fire first and due to the speed of wind, the fire moved into the neighboring tent quickly before destroying the third and a nearby SUV vehicle. For his part, Director of Public Relations and Media at the KFSD Col Khalil Al-Amir urged national and expatriates to take all measures to prevent the dangers of fire and the need of an extinguisher and fire blanket.

KUWAIT: Tomorrow, Feb 28, will be the last day (in the office) for Pope Benedict XVI, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, the second to resign from the pontificate ministry after the historic resignation of then Pope Gregory XII in 1415 when he reluctantly gave up his position in order to end the Western schism between competing papal claimants. Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation, citing an advanced age, will take effect on March 1, and cardinals from all over the world will gather at the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City as per tradition from March 15 to 20 to elect a new pope. However, a new decree issued by the Pope has called for an early vote, probably immediately after Pope Benedict steps down on Thursday. Manila Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle from the Philippines is said to be the strongest contender from among the Third World countries’ candidates for the papal office and Filipinos all over the world are hoping and praying to see a pope from South East Asia. The Philippines is a bastion of Catholicism in Asia, but many say Tagle could not be elected as he is one of the youngest inexperienced cardinals in the Roman Catholic Church. However, many international news agencies have described him as a potential future pope. In his assessments of the papabiles, CNN senior Vatican analyst John Allen dubbed Tagle as the ‘Great Asian Hope’ for the papal throne. Violeta Aguilar, a follower of Legion of Mary, a churchbased Filipino organization, said she hoped that the ‘conclave’ will finally choose a Filipino Cardinal as next pope. “Not only because he is a Filipino, but because he is one of the humblest men the church has had in recent times.” Tagle was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as Manila Cardinal only towards the end of 2012. He is 55, three years younger than John Paul II when the latter was elected in 1978. Based on Kuwait Times’ research, Tagle is said to be close to Pope Benedict XVI, having worked with him when the latter was then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Pope Benedict mentored him when he was finishing his doctoral thesis in sacred theology. One Filipino commentator has said Tagle has a ‘theologian’s mind, a musician’s soul and a pastor’s heart. He is known to go around the communities he serves on a ‘cheap bike’. “We need a pope who can relate to the suffering of his people. He is very humble despite having a huge name in the church; we need a pope who has a heart and understands all circumstances. He was a cardinal in his early age, probably is the ‘chosen one’ and he could help the church in many ways,” Aguilar said. But a Filipino priest from the Holy Family Cathedral and the head pastor of Ahmadi Church, Father Fred Micua said whoever is elected, ‘he will be respected since he is surely chosen by the Holy

Water taken from strategic reserve regularly KUWAIT: The Ministry of Electricity and Water pumps water from the national reserve into the national distribution network on a regular basis in order to meet the increasing demand since there was a lack of adequate projects to increase production capacity, local newspapers reported yesterday quoting ministry insiders. Speaking to Al-Rai on the condi-

tion of anonymity, the sources indicated that the ministr y provides “inaccurate statistics” to auditory bodies about usage of water from the strategic reserve. “The reports show that the water is partially withdrawn from the strategic reserve during peak consumption days in the summer, and compensated on other days,” the sources said. “In reality however, the ministry is taking water from

the strategic reserve most of the time throughout the year, including winter days when consumption levels reach their lowest.” The sources attributed this scenario to “delay in executing water projects” and demanded that the ministry hold accountable “those behind the delay in projects which were supposed to have been executed between 2011 and 2012.”

Major role for Kuwaiti women in development plans

LOS ANGELES: Ahmad Nasser Al-Romeadheen, a Kuwaiti master student who majored in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, raised the Kuwaiti flag during his skydive in California this week. He dedicated this particular jump to his parents and all the Kuwaiti citizens on the occasion of Kuwait’s National and Liberation days.

ALGIERS: Chairperson of the Kuwaiti Cabinet’s Woman Affairs Committee Sheikha Latifa Fahad Al-Salem Al-Sabah said yesterday the Kuwaiti woman has a strong presence in the country’s economic development plans. “Women are on equal footing with men in Kuwait’s strategic development plans and action program,” she said in an address to the fourth Arab woman conference. The gathering, being organized by the Arab Women Organization (AWO) under auspices of Algerian President Abdulaziz Bouteflika, was opened earlier today by Algerian Minister of National Solidarity and Family Affairs Souad Bent Jaballah. “The Kuwaiti government made headway in empowering women economically and removing all obstacles facing female entrepreneurs in economic decision-making, “ said Sheikha Latifa who doubles as chairperson of the Kuwaiti federation of women societies. “The government works to create the necessary legislative conditions conducive to females’ participation in development, she said, citing as examples the adoption of the act on private sector employment and the launching of a fund to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Dealing with Kuwait’s role in Arab economic development, Sheikha Latifa said His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlJaber Al-Sabah launched the initiative to set up a $2billion fund for supporting the SMEs in the Arab countries during the First Arab Economic, Social and Development Summit hosted by Kuwait in 2009. “The State of Kuwait ensures sufficient financing for the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) which plays an essential role in providing decent life for Arab citizens notably women,” she went on. Sheikha Latifa suggested that the AWO should launch a committee for woman human rights in order to alleviate the impacts of the current difficulties on the females in the Arab world. She thanked Algeria for hosting the gathering which provides a platform for Arab female entrepreneurs to network and share experience. — KUNA

VATICAN CITY: Then newly elected Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, left, is greeted by cardinals after receiving the red three-cornered biretta hat by Pope Benedict XVI. —AP File Photo Spirit’. “All cardinals who have not retired, and from recent years. These have got to be addressed.” Controversies are swirling around the conclave what I know, even the outsider Bishops, can be elected as a pope. It is really up to the Holy Spirit. to elect a replacement for Benedict following the And whether our Cardinal from the Philippines is pontiff’s shock resignation on February 11 - only chosen will be really up to God. Cardinal Tagle just the second of its kind in the Church’s 2,000-yearas any other insider cardinals has the edge, but the long history. On Monday, Britain’s most senior Holy Spirit will guide them and we are praying for Catholic cleric Cardinal Keith O’Brien resigned as head of the Church in Scotland following claims that as the body of Church,” Micua explained. A Filipino catholic, who wants his name with- that he made sexual advances towards priests, and held, and who has been closely monitoring Vatican said he would not take part in the conclave. O’Brien denies the allegations, which date back activities since Benedict was elected, expressed concern about the heavy burden that the next to the 1980s, but apologized to anyone offended by “failures” during his ministry. Pontiff will inherit. Murphy-O’Connor said he was “saddened” by “There are many scandals in the Church that have surfaced during the papacy of Pope Benedict O’Brien’s resignation - which leaves Britain without XVI. It is a heavy burden for him, and I think it was a vote in the conclave - and insisted that the the very burden that made him decide to give up Vatican had not put pressure on him to step down. papacy. So, the next pope will surely carry the “That was his decision to do so. He wasn’t forced to same load on his heart and we do not know when do so, he wasn’t asked to do so,” Murphy-O’Connor and how long a pope can manage to remain blind said, adding that O’Brien was “a very honest man” who denies the allegations. “Those matters will be to the sins (being committed) in the church.” The next pope must drive through reforms in investigated,” he told journalists, adding that the the wake of scandals that have hit the Roman scandal is “very damaging” for the Catholic Church Catholic Church, the former head of the Church in in Scotland. The climate of intrigue has been further stoked England and Wales said on Tuesday. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the former archbishop by rumours that Benedict’s resignation could have of Westminster, said Pope Benedict XVI’s successor been linked to an explosive report on the must be “capable of the kind of reform and renewal “Vatileaks” scandal, which exposed corruption and conflicts in the Church. The scandal saw Benedict’s that are needed in the church”. “The pope’s own house has got to be put in butler arrested, convicted and later pardoned for order,” Murphy-O’Connor told a press conference in leaking confidential papers to the press. (With London. “As you know there have been troubles in reports from news agencies)


LOCAL kuwait digest

kuwait digest

Generating more income

Security companies facing problems By Hamad Al-Sarie

By Thaar Al-Rashidi


t a diwaniya once, a guest expressed his admiration of the professional drivers who could punch in a text message on a mobile phone without making a mistake or causing an accident. He backed his appreciation by citing an example about an uncle of his, who, he claimed, could actually “repair his wristwatch while driving the car.” A hush fell upon the gathering, lasting for a full five minutes. Clearly, he had just murdered any semblance of truth. Realizing that his example was too outlandish for anyone to believe, he thought it fit to tweak it after saying a word of regret. “I meant that my uncle used to wind his wristwatch while driving, because it was an old fashioned one and needed to be wound manually,” he said by way of covering up his lie. Still, he smiled and asked if this was now an acceptable claim, and it was then that we all laughed. Some times, certain people tell an implausible story in order to bolster their position. It is an old stratagem that governments also follow while making many declarations when they want people to believe them. Despite the fact that politicians are often themselves deeply involved in some wrongdoing, they use the same strategy and some have become so good at it that they are forever ready to tell a lie and then keep repeating it till they either start believing it themselves or others start doing so. However, this strategy has now become useless in the times of internet, Twitter, Facebook and the citizen journalism. One of the strongest things I heard from this government was the declaration by the first deputy prime minister and minister of finance, Mustafa Al-Shamali, who said the government wanted to strengthen its sources of income by ending subsidy in case of services provided by the state. Instead, he said, the state would now become an “organizer” for these services rather than “provider.” First of all, diversifying the sources of income is the responsibility the state. This income cannot come from the citizens’ pockets or expats’ pockets. It is obvious that the poor people’s pockets are not oil wells that you can dig into for resources whenever you want to balance your budget. An even more important point is that the state was never a provider of services but was always an organizer for these, and the services proffered to the citizens and others have been very bad for the last 25 years and are in no way commensurate with those provided by a rich oil country to its people. But in this government, there are people who can claim with a straight face that their “uncle repairs his wristwatch while driving the car.” They do not even know how to lie to us. Personally, I agree that the governments are capable of lying, but would they please lie in a proper manner? — Al-Anbaa

kuwait digest

The youth Movement By Abdullatif Al-Duaij


believe that Dr Ahmad Al-Khateeb was a little prejudiced when he slammed the youth activists affiliated to the opposition, or maybe his comments were simply a reflection of his disappointment and hopelessness at the emerging political situation and he was merely trying to blame the youth activists for the deadlock.

Youth groups which formed the new opposition unfortunately yielded to the sway of the oppositionist former MPs and fell victim to the same tendencies, which most of the time were either undemocratic or sometimes not even political. A majority of them were motivated by tribal or sectarian concerns, or personal agendas that are far removed from the goals that young activists or Dr AlKhateeb wished to achieve. In my opinion, Dr Al-Khateeb was too optimistic about the “spring” movements that erupted across the Arab world. His optimism led him to believe that Kuwait was not an exception, and that everyone who rebelled against the system or voiced disagreement, as the opposition in Kuwait is doing, was democratic and part of the upcoming progressive and revolutionary change. Unfortunately, this has not been proven to be true even by the experience of the movement in the Arab world. It was an optimism that went beyond reality and was more akin to betting on the near impossible. Not only that, but youth groups which formed the new opposition unfortunately yielded to the sway of the oppositionist former MPs and fell victim to the same tendencies, which most of the time were either undemocratic or sometimes not even political. A majority of them were motivated by tribal or sectarian concerns, or personal agendas that are far removed from the goals that young activists or Dr Al-Khateeb wished to achieve. Even when young activists held the fort at the frontlines during public demonstrations, the spotlight was soon claimed by Musallam Al-Barrak and his fellow colleagues after the court sentenced the former MPs for offending HH the Amir. There is no gainsaying in pointing out that the young people are part of the general desperation and a lost situation, and should never be regarded as an exception as Dr. Al-Khateeb projects them. Though I am not as optimistic as Dr. Al-Khateeb, but if we must see some hope in the movement of young activists, it can only be realized if they break out of the guardianship of former opposition MPs and give a ‘youthful’ dimension to their movement. This is the only way for young activists to take the driver’s seat, and to create a socio-political movement aimed at taking the country forward on a path of development. — Al-Qabas


icensed security companies in Kuwait are facing a lot of problems in running their business of providing services under a contract to their clients, whether governmental or private. Most of the security companies are established by persons who do not have any experience in security work and providing protection. It became obvious when robbers targeted vehicles or people, they prefer looting at gunpoint. In one of the armed robberies, three per-

kuwait digest

educational leadership crisis By Dr. Yaqoub Al-Sharrah


n educational administrator’s success depends on the ability and skill to lead as well as on the nature of the tasks and the kind of responsibilities that he or she tackles. Educational leadership is more than just issuing orders, adopting an arrogant approach or rushing to achieve results. Leadership like this comes with a capability to plan, supervise and then follow up on the activities that can take one towards the projected goal. The problem we have is that each member of the state’s educational administration believes that he or she is the leader. They think they know best what needs to be done. However, modern science demands some specific standards for leadership that include specialization, capability, perseverance, endurance, skill, as well as hard work, an ability to understand others and to take decisions. Leadership as a result is related to a person rather than the nature of the job that the said person is doing. A teacher can be a leader, say a director, social worker, counselor or principal. Leadership in the education field is not very different from leadership in any other field. The problem arises when a task is handed to incompetent individuals who cannot handle the responsibilities that their job entails. For example, a leader who has all the other leadership qualities will prove to be incompetent if he or she lacked the ability to take the right decision at the right time. Meanwhile, a person will not be able to thrive in a leader’s role if he or she was not in his or own field of specialty. Also, he or she will fail if they were not able to work with others. Educational studies indicate that leadership in this field is

often weak because it is either ‘outdated’ or incapable of reforming itself. Some of the senior officials we have lack vision or a comprehensive awareness about how the level of education can be improved in the short term and in the long run. Their approach favors a mere routine rather than improving the quality of work and adapting with changes that arise while planning strategies for the future of education. Many past attempts for reform failed to reflect people’s hopes and ambitions. Instead, they reflected the peculiar vision of those in the leadership post, which was proven by the lack of tangible results. Many reform plans were obstructed for political or ideological reasons despite the state’s general approach to pay attention to improving education as per the repeated calls of His Highness the Amir in this regard. The relationship between the concept of leadership and the reality of education has been brought out by field studies, as well as recommendations of international bodies including the UNESCO, the World Bank, and the United Nations Development Programme whose reports show deterioration in the level of Kuwait’s education compared to other countries. Studies and recommendations will be useless if they are not realized through a leadership system that is characterized by competency and creativity. In order for that to happen, the education domain’s leadership needs to be reformed through measures that include renovating the system’s administrative structure and preparing leaders capable of steering and improving the quality of education while at the same time utilizing the revolution in knowledge and communications to achieve these goals. — Al-Rai

Many past attempts for reform failed to reflect people’s hopes and ambitions. Instead, they reflected the peculiar vision of those in the leadership post, which was proven by the lack of tangible results.

The problem of security companies is that they are unable to bring trained security personnel from abroad as the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor is not very eager to grant them work permit unless they have any government contracts. Therefore, they are obliged to use local and untrained laborers. sons stopped a vehicle specially deployed to carry currency from a few cooperative societies to one of the banks, and decamped with KD 250,000. Later, investigations showed that the currency-carrying vehicle was being driven by two unqualified persons. The key to the vehicle’s rear door was with them and they handed it over promptly when the robbers threatened them. The problem of security companies is that they are unable to bring trained security personnel from abroad as the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor is not very eager to grant them work permit unless they have any government contracts. Therefore, they are obliged to use local and untrained laborers. The second problem that the security companies face is that they are not allowed to use any security weaponry to protect themselves against any attacks. At times, a security man can prevent a theft if he were to be equipped with a pepper spray or electric shock delivering baton etc, particularly when such equipment does not cause any permanent damage. But the Ministry of Interior refuses to grant permission to these companies to have such equipment, even if the legal responsibility about how the security personnel use such equipment can fall upon the company. Also most of the fights which happen in the commercial complexes can be stopped or prevented from escalating if the youth are aware of the security equipments and see the personnel armed with these. Another problem that such companies face is at the time of employment since they have to employ people in the absence of any proper crime related data about recruits. Since the job involves security duties and the mission of that person is to protect an organization or a government building or a private property, it is mandatory that the recruited personnel have a clean record. — Al-Anbaa

kuwait digest

Opposition off the track

kuwait digest

With you, with you not By Dr Aliya Shuwaib


was terrified by a study published recently in the British national newspaper, The Independent, which indicated that 45% of family members in the United Kingdom use texting in order to communicate with each other while at home. This means that instead of talking to their parents in person, children just send text messages to the father or the mother without leaving their rooms. How much more terrifying the era we live in can become? They say that the internet has reduced the world into a small village, but at the same time it seems that it has created light years of distance between people who now have been reduced to roam alone in a dark world just like the

planets in an empty, dark space. We have become so close yet so distant from each other. Online telecommunication has brought us very close to each other, but at the same time destroyed even those true bonds that kept us together while being in the same house. It is ironic that the same thing which made it possible to have conversations with friends in other continents so easily has also made us too isolated to even say hello to our parents in person like we used to do when we were children. Time periods have been reduced, but at the same time the distances have been increased to a very worrying extent. We only see our relatives

on occasions - which we often attend sulkily. If we are invited to a dinner, lunch or any other occasion, people are often found with their faces tucked into their phones as they enjoy their online session while forgetting the actual session they are located in. How sad and lonely have we become. Compared to thousands of followers on our Twitter accounts, the number of actual friends and relatives we keep in touch with in real life is dwindling. How many of us are with our families in physical form only, while our minds and hearts are with our Facebook and Twitter buddies? How dark and lonesome our world has become. —Al-Rai

kuwait digest

What is a homeland? By Dr Sulaiman Al-Khadhari


ertain occasions provide a golden opportunity to take a break from everyday activities and instead try and look at the big picture when it comes to the path that our society is taking. Some occasions are personal while others are universal in nature, such as the National Holidays we recently celebrated amidst rather exceptional circumstances since Kuwait today is facing signs of an unfortunate disunity in the political and social fields. The Independence Day and Liberation Day came at a time when we are numbed by a feeling of a complete loss. We no longer know where we are heading, nor are we able to outline the skeletal features of the state’s larger project. We do not know if Kuwait is still the famed “melting pot” for people of different backgrounds and orientations in the Gulf region. I spent some time a few days ago with a youth activist who was among the leaders of the ‘orange

movement’ in Kuwait. He fired at me a volley of some important questions that are being asked by youth activists today. Most such queries were about the failure of the state’s project, and the responsibility of the executive in the deterioration of public services and spread of corruption. He went on to criticize the government in general and, much to his surprise, I agreed with him till the point when he stopped and asked me this direct question: “If you agree, then what stopped you from participating in the demonstrations?” I paused for a little bit, then gave him an answer that, by the look on his face, he was not expecting. “I simply fear that the opposition movement can leave a more negative effect than that left by the government’s approach,” I said, and gave him examples of the catastrophic effect of the opposition’s approach towards maintaining the integrity of Kuwait’s social

fabric. But my friend then asked, “Where is the nation in all of this? Shouldn’t you overcome all these concerns for the sake of your homeland which is facing deterioration in all fields?” In turn, I asked with a sad smile on my face: “What is the definition of ‘homeland’?” A homeland is a place that makes us all feel a sense of belonging. It is the value that, if it existed within us, would transcend over all other values. It is the entity that overcomes all and its presence is felt the most. A homeland is not about you, your hopes and dreams, but about us, our hopes, dreams, concerns and fears. In short, the homeland is you and me. Without realizing this simple fact, the homeland will remain a variable subject that each one of us interpret in our own way and set priorities the way we like, while the National Day will only be an opportunity for us to gather at the Arabian Gulf Road with a can of foam spray in hand. —Al-Anba

By Thaar Al-Rashidi


ne advice often proffered to women says, “The shortest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” It seems that some of the MPs have tweaked the saying to read that the “shortest way to people’s hearts is now through their pockets.” Whenever anyone reads about any MP’s suggestions these days, these have to do with proposals about how to shower more allowances, increments, or money in any form on the people. People do not want such money. They, instead, need projects that bring them jobs and services. They want a new hospital, a building, a university. They want something like an Al-Shadadia University, a dream that began ten years ago but is still a desert. People do not want the MPs to mediate on their behalf with the government and win for them financial increments. Instead, they want the MPs to ensure that the laws are invoked and applied. They want them to standup for the country. Trying to address the feelings of the people through financial increments is nothing but propaganda for early elections for a new council. They know it and we know it that the current Assembly will not complete its first year. We should ask as to what is lubricating the wheels of the grillings’ train to roll forward, even when we know that the council, as per the experts, is a fairly soft one and toothless when it comes to its supervisory role. Are the grillings meant to embarrass His Highness the current Prime Minister, particularly since most of these are based on actions that happened in the past or were drafted in such a way so that it is easy for the government to respond to these? I did not read the grilling motion filed against the oil minister, but I think that too is merely meant to “embarrass” than any other political reason. Yes, there are some who are pushing for dissolution of the council. By that, I do not mean the opposition which wishes that the council be dissolved today and not tomorrow. Instead, I am referring to certain influential forces which deeply wish that N.A. Council becomes a political wrestling arena and leads to ultimately a resignation of the government or dissolution of the parliament, or both, so that the entire political scene can be reconstructed in accordance with what suits their desires and politics. The opposition is no more the political problem. They are merely gathering people in the streets and holding seminars in order to rectify certain wrongs as they see it. They have gone off the right track. But the larger problem now is that there are certain parties out there who are working to make the N.A. Council a ploy to reorganize the entire political scene. Their aim clearly now is to prove that the government has failed. They want to push a line that says, “You saw that the N.A. Council was very nice but the government turned out to be a failure.” Therefore, I believe that their aim is not to dissolve the National Assebly, but to bring down the government through fanning continuous illogical fighting in an illogical council through illogical grillings. — Al-Anbaa



14 vehicles targeted in car theft spree Man stalks woman employee at airport

NBK Walkathon Registration Tent

Registration for NBK Walkathon starts KUWAIT: The registration for National Bank of Kuwait’s (NBK) 19th Annual Walkathon star ts today (Wednesday) at the registration location next to the Scientific Center daily from 9am to 1pm and from 4:30pm to 9 pm. The Walkathon will take place on March 23. NBK will be giving away two MG5 2013 sport cars as grand prizes during the Walkathon along with many other valuable prizes. Abdulmohsen Al-Rushaid, NBK Public Relations Manager said “the participation in NBK’s Walkathon is increasing year after year, and we are extremely thrilled to take our involvement with this exciting event to a new level.”

“Our commitment towards being connected with the community is the reason why we feel it is important for us to maintain the Walkathon annually.” Al-Rushaid added. This year, NBK’s Walkathon is marked by a variety of fun, entertainment filled and health awarenessraising activities. NBK strongly supports sporting events and encourages various 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.

Abdulmohsen Al-Rushaid

KUWAIT: In a series of car robberies in the course of a single night, robbers broke into 14 cars in a neighborhood in Abdullah AlSalem recently, and decamped with cash and valuable items kept in the vehicles. The plaintiffs woke up on Monday morning to find their cars’ windows smashed and cash and valuable items inside stolen. Detectives arrived at the scene even as preliminary investigations indicated that the thefts happened at dawn. Area residents reportedly expressed frustration at t he l a c k of s e c ur i t y w hi c h allowed the thieves to break into so many vehicles without any fear. Stalker escapes A m a n s t a l ke d a wom a n employee working at the Kuwait International Airport recently and tried to tail her car but escaped when he saw she was headed for a police station. The complainant was reportedly driving home on Monday morning after her nightshift ended when she noticed the suspect following her. She noted down his car’s license plate number and headed to the Jleeb AlShuyoukh police station to report the repeated harassment. The man apparently realized her intentions of going to the police and disappeared. A case was filed for investigations. Couple arrested A couple was arrested at the

Jlai’ah Road for drinking and driving under influence. Traffic police personnel pulled over a spor ts ut i l i t y ve hi c l e ( S U V ) for ove r speeding but then noticed that the male driver and his female companion were acting in a rather peculiar manner. The two were in an inebriated state and arrested. Their vehicle was towed away and they were referred to the Criminal I nvestigations General Department for legal action. Addict held A drug addict was arrested at the Blajat Street for harassing women among the National Day revelers on Monday. The man was re p or te d l y s e e n a p p roa c hi ng women in the crowd and handing t he m s l i p s of p a p e r w i t h hi s phone number written on them. Police, who were present on the scene, apprehended the suspect who turned out to be under the influence. He was referred to the proper authorities to face charges. Drug duo held Two people were arrested at the King Abdul-Aziz Highway after they were caught for possessing drugs. Patrol officers intercepted and flagged down a Japanese make car after its driver ignored orders to pull over and tried to escape. The Kuwaiti man and his Sudanese companion were arrested after police searched the car

and found hashish and tramadol t a b l e t s i ns i d e. The t wo we re re fe r re d to t h e D r u g Co n t ro l G e ne r a l D e p a r t m e nt to f a ce charges. Work site accident A man who was inspec ting work at an under construction high rise building in Mubarakiya recently suffered a fall from the fourth floor and was hospitalized with serious injuries. The 36-yearold bedoon (stateless) supervisor was checking the work when he lost balance and fell directly on the ground from the fourth storey. He was taken in an unconscious state in an ambulance to the Amiri Hospital where he was diagnosed with a fractured right thighbone. He is currently recovering at the intensive care unit while doctors described his condition as ‘stable’. A case was filed. Boy lost and found A woman who suddenly found her son missing during National Day festivities on Monday at the Mubarakiya Market in Kuwait City became unconscious but was late r re uni te d w i t h he r b oy. Paramedics arrived at the scene after the Arab woman passed out after unsuccessfully searching for her son but regained consciousness soon thereaf ter and was reunited with her son who was found by the police.

Spain hails expansion of cooperation with Kuwait MADRID: Relations between Spain and Kuwait have recently tangibly grown and the two countries have succeeded in expanding scope of cooperation in the business and commercial and tourism sectors, affirmed Spanish former minister of foreign affairs Trinidad Jimenez. Jimenez, in remarks on sidelines of a reception held by the Kuwaiti embassy on the occasion of the National Days of Kuwait, late on Monday, said the distinguished ties between Kuwait and Spain became deeper, over the past years, along with an “increasing rapprochement between peoples of the two countries,” as well as between companies and institutions of Kuwait and Spain, thus resulting in wide-scale commercial and tourism cooperation between the two sides. Kuwait’s policy of openness and political moderation has contributed to boosting its

KUWAIT: More than 8,000 people attended a ceremony organized by the Touristic Enterprises Company at the Khairan Resort recently in celebration of Kuwait’s National Holidays. Senior TEC officials attended the event including Deputy Chairman and Managing Director Abdullah Al-Ghanim, Khaian Resort Manager Adnan Zinedine, and Public Relations Manager Saqr Al-Badr. Portraits for HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah were displayed outside the resort’s chalets while free cakes were presented to the people in attendance.

vital role in the Arab Gulf region and the Middle East, said Jimenez, noting that she had succeeded in maintaining coordination with Kuwait regarding various issues when she held the foreign affairs portfolio. She thanked the ambassador of Kuwait, Adel Al-Ayyar, for his role in cementing the political and economic relations with the European nation, noting that this approach was in harmony with the two states’ historic and cultural roles as well as their political commitments in the Middle East. Admiral Jaime Munoz-Delgado, Chief of Staff of the Spanish Army, who was also among the guests that took part in the Kuwaiti celebration, noted the brotherly and friendly relationship bounding HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah with King Juan Carlos. He also expressed satisfaction at the close cooperation

between the two countries in the political, economic and cultural fields. Presence of the large crowd of dignitaries sharing the Kuwaitis their happiness for the national occasions signal extent of rapprochement between leaders and peoples of the two countries and the mutual desire to pursue action for cementing the historic and humane links between the two peoples, he said. Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization Taleb AlRifaee stressed on the key role, played by the State of Kuwait in the Arab Gulf region and the Middle east in general, also hailing the Kuwaiti government efforts to expand the sector of tourism. Participants in the ceremony, held at the InterContinental Hotel, were enter tained with Kuwaiti fo l k l o r i c a n d p a t r i o t i c s h ows, national cuisines and formativeart works. —KUNA



Gulf forces conclude war games

KUWAIT: The Peninsula Shield Forces are seen in action during a two-day joint military exercise which was held in Udaira in the desert yesterday. —Photos by Yasser Zayyat

GCC chief commends Peninsula Shield Forces’ capabilities KUWAIT: GCC Secretary General Abdullatif Al-Zayani yesterday commended capabilities of the Peninsula Shield Forces, who concluded joint maneuvers earlier in the day. The high capabilities of the Peninsula Shield Forces “affirms the the GCC leaders’ special care to the joint Gulf defense regime.” Al-Zayani said the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries were keen on constant development and upgrading of the capabilities of the Peninsula Shield Forces to be always ready to counter foreign threats and protect the Gulf nationals. He said the military drills in Kuwait was a qualitative leap. Al-Zayani also said the war games coincided with Kuwait’s 52nd National Day and 22nd Liberation Day. The Peninsula Shield Forces concluded their drills earlier in the day with a mock occupation of the Failaka Island, where the Gulf troops deployed around the island to determine the positions of the enemy forces, and bombing their boats and aircraft. —KUNA


Morsi opponents to boycott Egypt vote

Aquino warns sultan in Malaysia standoff

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RAMALLAH: Palestinian protestors and medics help a schoolgirl after she inhaled tear gas smoke during clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian stone throwers outside Israel’s Ofer prison yesterday after a protest in support of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli prisons. — AFP

Rocket from Gaza hits Israel Fatah-linked militants claim attack after inmate death

GAZA CITY: Gaza militants from Fatah’s AlAqsa Martyrs Brigades fired a rocket at Israel yesterday as a “preliminary response” after one of its members died in an Israeli jail. It was the first time a Gaza rocket had struck southern Israel in more than three months, and stoked fears that the mass protests in the West Bank over the fate of prisoners in Israeli jails could spread to the Hamas-run territory. Following weeks of anger in support of four prisoners on long-term hunger strike, the issue came to head on Saturday with news that 30-year-old Arafat Jaradat, who had been interrogated for throwing stones, had died in custody. Jaradat was arrested on Feb 18 and questioned by Israel’s Shin Bet internal security services on suspicion of involvement in a “stone-throwing terror attack” in November. Five days later, he died in Megiddo prison. His

death sparked angry demonstrations across the West Bank, with Palestinian prisoner affairs minister Issa Qaraqaa saying preliminary results from his autopsy showed he had died “as a result of torture”. At his funeral near the southern city of Hebron on Monday, militants from Al-Aqsa Brigades, an armed offshoot of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’ Fatah party, vowed revenge. The group claimed Tuesday’s rocket as a first response. “In a preliminary response to the killing of our hero the prisoner Arafat Jaradat, we claim responsibility for firing a Grad rocket on Ashkelon at 6:00 am (0400 GMT),” the Gaza branch said in a statement. The rocket struck a road just south of the Israeli port city, causing damage but no injuries, police said. Israeli public radio citing military officials said it was a “Grad M75”. Sami Abu Zuhri, spokesman for Gaza’s

Hamas rulers, said there was “no confirmation the rocket came from the Palestinian side”, and pointed the finger at Israel as being “responsible for the murder of Arafat Jaradat and all the consequences”. Israeli President Shimon Peres said the Jewish state would consider an “appropriate response” to the rocket attack. “The Palestinian Authority must understand that a return to violence would be a catastrophe and that is what its leaders also say,” he said. “We must act together to restore peace.” It was the first such attack since the end of an eight-day confrontation in November during which militants fired more than a thousand rockets at Israel and the air force hit back with a major bombing campaign. The violence, which killed 177 Palestinians and six Israelis, ended with a truce deal on Nov 21. Meanwhile, Palestinian police were pre-

venting demonstrators from reaching an area near Jalame checkpoint in the northern West Bank where several mass protests have erupted into violence in the past 10 days, an AFP correspondent said. Earlier, Abbas had instructed security forces to “maintain the calm” following a demand from Israel at the weekend that he act to cool the situation. Washington also sent a “clear message” to both sides calling for calm, a State Department spokesman said, indicating it expected “all parties to consider the results of the autopsy calmly and without inflammatory rhetoric”. And the United Nations called for an independent inquiry into Jaradat’s death. “The United Nations expects the autopsy to be followed by an independent and transparent investigation into the circumstances of Mr Jaradat’s death, the results of which should be

Lavrov blasts Syria ‘extremists’ Rebels agree to meet Kerry, dismiss Damascus offer

BERLIN: Russia’s foreign minister yesterday slammed “extremists” in the Syrian opposition who he said were blocking the start of dialogue with Damascus by making unrealistic demands, ahead of talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry. Hours before he was due to meet Kerry, Sergei Lavrov said that recent faint hopes that dialogue was possible between the opposition and the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad had dissipated. “It seems that extremists who bet on an armed solution to the Syrian problem have prevailed in the ranks of the opposition at this time, including the socalled (Syrian) National Coalition, blocking all initiatives that could lead to the start of

dialogue,” Lavrov told reporters in Moscow. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Muallem had said in Moscow Monday that the authorities in Damascus were ready to talk to armed rebels, the first time a senior official of the Assad regime had made such a proposal. But the rebel Free Syrian Army’s chief of staff Selim Idriss dismissed Muallem’s offer. “I am not going to sit down with him (Assad) or with any other member of his clique before all the killing stops, or before the army withdraws from the cities,” Idriss told pan-Arab broadcaster Al-Arabiya. Kerry met his Russian counterpart later yesterday in a bid to bridge differences between Moscow and Washington over

BERLIN: US Secretary of State John Kerry and German Chancellor Angela Merkel address a press conference at the Chancellery yesterday. —‚ AFP

Syria, after convincing the war-torn country’s opposition to take part in an international meeting on the conflict. Russia is one of the few big powers to keep ties with the Assad regime amid the conflict with rebels and together with China has vetoed UN Security Council resolutions that would have introduced sanctions against Damascus. “He (Lavrov) and I know each other very well. I am anxious to have a chance to sit down with him,” Kerry told a joint press conference with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle. He said “a lot of topics” would be on the agenda but declined to comment further before the meeting had taken place. Kerry, on an 11-day tour of Europe and the Middle East, his first foreign trip since taking over the office, earlier told an event in Berlin with youngsters that he and Lavrov had a “good relationship”. “I am confident we will find common ground,” he said. After denouncing Moscow’s intransigence over Syria for months, Washington has recently toned down its criticism. “ We’ve been absolutely clear that there needs to be a political transition, and we felt that Russia could play a key role in convincing the regime... that there needs to be that political transition,” a State Department official told reporters. However Kerry is not expecting “a big breakthrough” at the meeting, the official added. Lavrov said after meeting Muallem in Moscow Monday there was “no acceptable alternative to a political solution achieved through agreeing positions of the govern-

ment and the opposition”. But, said Lavrov, the Syrian people must decide their fate “without external intervention”. Syria’s opposition has been calling for the international community to do more - the United Nations says the fighting has claimed 70,000 lives since the conflict began in March 2011- and warned last week it would withdraw from an international conference in Rome planned for tomorrow. But Kerry and British Foreign Secretary William Hague convinced the Syrian National Coalition Monday to revoke its boycott of the 11nation Friends of Syria meeting after an appeal at a joint press conference in London. Syrian National Coalition chief Ahmed Moaz Al-Khatib said on his Facebook page his group would attend after Kerry and Hague “promised specific aid to alleviate the suffering of our people”. Kerry said it would be a “mistake to start laying out what we are going to do before we’ve consulted and before we’ve all come together to make those decisions,” he added. “So we will see where we are when we get to Rome,” he added. But in London, Kerry had insisted he wanted the Syrian opposition to know “that we are not coming to Rome simply to talk. We are coming to Rome to make a decision on next steps”. Kerry, on taking over the job from Hillary Clinton in early February, spoke of a diplomatic initiative on Syria soon. The trip sees Kerry, the son of a diplomat, back on familiar ground. He spent part of his childhood in Berlin and has family in France. — AFP

made public as soon as possible,” UN Middle East envoy Robert Serry said late on Monday. The Palestinians also called for an independent inquiry in a letter from their UN ambassador Riyad Mansour to the UN Security Council, which said the autopsy showed Jaradat “was subjected to severe beatings, abuse and medical negligence during his captivity, possibly amounting to torture”. According to the letter, the autopsy showed Jaradat had six broken bones in his neck, spine, arms and legs, as well as other injuries. Israel has said the prisoner could have suffered broken bones during the attempts by the emergency services to resuscitate him. It said the preliminary findings were “not sufficient to determine the cause of death” which could only be known with the results of microscopic and toxicological tests, which are reportedly due back on 10 days. — AFP



Kurdish leader warns of disaster if no Turkey peace ISTANBUL: Emerging briefly from solitary confinement in his island prison near Istanbul, Kurdish militant leader Abdullah Ocalan said Turkey could become as troubled as Syria or Iraq if it does not take steps to end his group’s decades-old insurgency. A paunchy and greying Ocalan, cut off from the world since his capture in 1999, told a delegation of pro-Kurdish MPs visiting him at the weekend of his plans to end a 28-year conflict that has killed 40,000 people. Ocalan has been negotiating the outlines of a peace deal with Turkey’s government from his cell since he intervened to end a hunger strike by jailed Kurdish militants last year. With a Turkish intelligence official listening in the background, he spoke for two hours on Saturday about Turkey, the changing Middle East and his political beliefs, relishing attention he has long been denied. “We must establish a new democratic republic in line with the new world and the new Middle East. The Kurdish problem can only be solved with Turkey’s democratisation,” the 63-year-old Ocalan said, his words relayed to Reuters by parliamentarian Altan Tan. “If it is not solved, these problems in Turkey will deepen... God forbid, we will end up like Iraq or Syria,” Tan related him as saying, calling for a new constitution and democratic reforms to avoid such a “disaster”. Ocalan’s Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) took up arms

in 1984 with the aim of carving out a Kurdish state, but has since moderated its goal to autonomy. It is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union. Turkish forces clashed with PKK fighters last month, killing four of the rebels after they killed a police officer in the province of Mardin. The Turkish military has continued attacks on PKK forces in southeast Turkey and northern Iraq in recent weeks and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has said the military operations will continue until the PKK lay down their arms. Turkish warplanes bombed PKK targets in northern Iraq on Feb. 20 and Kurdish media said military operations targeting the militants were conducted in southeast Turkey near the border with Iraq this week. Yet Ankara will need the help of Ocalan to end a conflict which has destabilised Turkey and stunted development in its mainly Kurdish southeast. It is a remarkable change of fortune for a man dubbed “baby killer” and “monster of Imrali” by nationalists and reviled by most Turks, who hold him responsible for 28 years of bloodshed. For the three visiting Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputies, he cut a very different figure. Wearing a grey cardigan, grey corduroy trousers and white sport shoes, the moustachioed Ocalan was “very polite and addressed everybody respectfully”, Tan said. For 14 years, Ocalan has had little contact with the outside world

besides newspapers delivered to his cell. His lawyers have been denied access to him for 1-1/2 years but his brother has been allowed occasional visits. He also has contact with several other inmates sent to join him in 2009. More recently, he was given access to television. Ocalan views efforts to draft a new constitution for Turkey as an opportunity to secure the devolutionary reforms long demanded by his group. His draft peace plan has been sent to the BDP and the PKK leadership in northern Iraq and Europe. The leader of the BDP, which received the “road map” yesterday, said all sides needed to respond swiftly. “The next two or three weeks will be very critical for the process,” BDP leader Selahattin Demirtas told reporters late on Monday, saying the government now needed to take “practical, concrete, confidence-building steps”. “This is not a process that can be put on Mr Ocalan’s shoulders alone. Above all the government, but also all groups in favour of peace and solution, society and the public must give strong support for the process,” he said. Ocalan could call a ceasefire at the Kurdish New Year on March 21 and, in a first step, the PKK may release some 16 Turkish captives it is holding by this weekend, according to media reports. Such details were not discussed in Saturday’s meeting. The plan would then see the withdrawal of several thousand PKK fighters from

Turkey to their bases in northern Iraq before their ultimate disarmament in exchange for reforms boosting the rights of a Kurdish minority which makes up around 20 percent of a population of 76 million. Erdogan’s government has presented to parliament a penal code reform which could lead to the release of many Kurdish activists jailed over alleged PKK ties. Among other reforms, Kurdish politicians seek Kurdish language education and a constitution boosting equality. Only a few people have been privy to details of the negotiations between Ocalan and Turkey’s intelligence agency, the MIT. MP Pervin Buldan said they had to wait for the arrival of MIT officials before starting Saturday’s talks. Ocalan had been talking with an MIT official when they were taken in to meet him and they shook hands before beginning their talks, Buldan said. She gave Ocalan a pen and Muslim prayer beads as a present. The third deputy, leftist filmmaker Sirri Sureyya Onder, gave him a parliamentary report on coup investigations. Conveying her excitement ahead of the talks, Buldan had described the visit in a message on Twitter as “the most meaningful, important and valuable of my life”. “We spoke for around two hours. As we left he signed on an empty piece of paper in my hand: ‘With my love and respect, Abdullah Ocalan’”. — Reuters

Tunisia says Salafists behind Belaid murder Four suspects arrested, killer on run

MALKIYA, Bahrain A Bahraini anti-government protester flashes the victory sign as he stands behind old furniture set on fire in a street yesterday. — AP

2 policemen acquitted of killing Bahrain protester DUBAI: A Bahraini court yesterday acquitted two policemen who were charged with shooting dead a Shiite protester two years ago, lawyer Mohammed Al-Jishi wrote on his Twitter account. The Higher Criminal Court said that “as interior ministry employees, the two policemen fired shotguns at the victim Fadhel Matruk without intending to kill him,” wrote Jishi, who represented the protester’s family in the case. Matruk died on Feb 15, 2011 from wounds sustained during a police crackdown on protesters who remained camped in central Manama for one month before authorities completely razed their camp in March of that year. On Sunday, an appeals court confirmed a December ruling in which two other police officers were acquitted after being charged with killing protesters Ali al-Moumin and Issa Abdel Hasan during the same period. On Jan 31, a Bahraini court sentenced a policeman to

seven years in jail for torturing to death a protester during the then month-long protests in Manama against the rule of the Sunni AlKhalifa dynasty. A number of policemen are being investigated or are on trial for allegedly torturing detainees after hundreds of Shiites were rounded up when security forces crushed the protests in mid-March 2011. The authorities say they are implementing the recommendations of an independent commission of inquiry appointed by the king that confirmed allegations of excessive use of force by security forces during the unrest. Home to the US Fifth Fleet and strategically situated across the Gulf from Iran, Bahrain has continued to witness sporadic Shiite-led demonstrations, now mostly outside the capital. The International Federation for Human Rights says around 80 people have been killed in Bahrain since the violence first broke out on Feb 14, 2011. — AFP

TUNIS: Radical Salafist Muslims murdered Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid, with four suspects arrested and the killer identified but still on the run, Interior Minister Ali Larayedh said yesterday. The breakthrough comes as Larayedh, named as prime minister-designate, presses efforts to form a new government aimed at pulling Tunisia out of a deep political crisis sparked by the Feb 6 killing of Belaid outside his home in Tunis. “The killer has been identified and is being chased,” Larayedh told a news conference. “Four other suspects have been arrested. They are Tunisians and belong to a radical religious strand ... which we refer to as the Salafist movement,” said Larayedh. Belaid’s daylight killing sparked deadly street protests and strikes and exposed the widening fissures between the ruling Islamists and liberals. It also threw Tunisia into its worst political crisis since the revolution two years ago that ousted strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Larayedh said the four people arrested had “monitored (Belaid) for some time”. One of the suspects, he added, “confessed to having accompanied the killer on the day of the crime.” Police sources had earlier told AFP that those behind the killing were adherents of the Salafist movement, which is known for its radical version of Sunni Islam. They said one of the suspects was active in the League for the Protection of the Revolution, a controversial group linked to the ruling Ennahda party and implicated in attacks on secular opposition groups. The Salafists have been blamed for several violent actions in Tunisia in the past few months - including an attack on the US embassy last September that left four attackers dead - with Ennahda being regularly accused by the opposition of protecting those behind the violence. Hundreds of bystanders watched yesterday as two of the detained suspects re-enacted the shooting at the scene amid a heavy security presence, local media said. The Interior Minister did not confirm a report by Tunisia’s Express FM radio that one of those detained was a police officer. “Identifying the killers of Belaid reinforces confidence in the judiciary and in the neutrality of security (forces),” said Larayedh. Larayedh also declined to comment on who may have ordered the killing, even as Belaid’s widow, Besma Khalfaoui, urged authorities to flush out those responsible. “It is good to know

TUNIS: Tunisia’s prime minister-designate Ali Larayedh speaks during a press conference yesterday. — AP who carried it out, but for me it is very important to know who ordered it... because this was a very well-organised crime,” Khalfaoui told France’s Europe 1 radio yesterday during a visit to Paris. “We are asking for a trial, for further investigation, for everything to be known.” Belaid’s brother, Abdelmajid, accuses Ennahda of being behind the murder, which the party has denied. “It’s Ennahda which gave the green light to kill my brother,” he told AFP. Khalfaoui was more cautious, saying only that “Ennahda’s political leadership is involved.” In a statement, Ennahda leader Rached Ghannouchi denounced such accusations against his party and called for Belaid’s assassins to be severely punished for a “heinous crime which ... endangered civil peace and co-existence among Tunisians”. Ennahda “calls on all political parties, civil society associations and all Tunisians committed to the revolution to work in solidarity and cooperation so as not to give any chance to those who wish to drag the country towards violence and in-fighting,” the statement said. In a dig at Salafists, it also urged young

Tunisians to “promote moderate thought and balance which eschews takfir (accusing another Muslim of apostasy) and violence”. The political crisis in Tunisia has been aggravated with Belaid’s killing, with former premier Hamadi Jebali resigning after his own party Ennahda dismissed his proposal to form a government of technocrats. Larayedh, also an Ennahda member, was named on Friday to replace Jebali. He has until March 8 to form a new government, which he has vowed will be “for all Tunisians”. He met with leaders of the secular Republican Party on Tuesday after holding talks the previous evening with Beji Caid Essebsi, ex-premier and leader of the opposition movement Nidaa Tounes, an AFP correspondent said. Ghannouchi, who is seen as the main political power in Tunisia, has said Larayedh’s efforts are focused on enlarging the three-member ruling coalition to add more parties in a more broadly based coalition. The alliance currently groups Ennahda with two secular, centre-left parties: President Moncef Marzouki’s Congress for the Republic and Ettakatol. — Agencies

Morsi opponents to boycott Egypt vote

ALEPPO: People search the rubble for dead bodies and injured victims at a site where houses were hit by a missile attack by Syrian government forces in the neighborhood of Ard Al-Hamra yesterday. — AP

Battles erupt near Aleppo’s historic Umayyad Mosque BEIRUT: Fierce fighting erupted around the historic Umayyad Mosque in Syria’s second city Aleppo yesterday, as rebels battled troops on the grounds of a police academy elsewhere in the province, a watchdog said. Explosions and gunfire shook the area around the mosque, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. A military source also reported heavy fighting and said rebels had detonated an explosive near the southern outer wall of the mosque in an attempt to break into the courtyard. The army has full control of the mosque itself, but rebels hold positions around the southern entrance. In October, the mosque was heavily damaged when a fire broke out amid clashes and charred several antique furnishings and one of its intricately sculpted colonnades. At the time, thieves stole three hairs and part of a tooth said to have been from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that were among the mosque’s most renowned, an AFP reporter learned. The site has been a place of Muslim worship since the 8th century, but the original building was razed by the Mongols in the 13th century, from when the current structure dates. Today it is again in danger, as fighting has raged in Aleppo since mid-July, including in its UNESCO-listed Old City which embraces the ancient citadel and historic cov-

ered market and the mosque. Elsewhere in Aleppo province, rebels pushed into the grounds of a major police academy and seized one of its buildings after a fierce two-day siege in which more than 70 combatants were killed, the Observatory said. The academy, located near the town of Khan Assal, is one of the last regime bastions in the province. A second military source said that rebels were blockading the entrance of the school and that clashes were continuing on the periphery. “We called for reinforcements yesterday and they have still not arrived,” he told AFP on condition of anonymity. Regime forces retaliated with air strikes on rebels around the school and reinforcements were seen heading towards Khan Assal, according to the watchdog, which collects its reports from a network of activists and medics on the ground. Air strikes were also reported in the southern province of Daraa, the eastern outskirts of Damascus, the northwestern province of Idlib, the northern province of Raqa and the eastern city of Deir Ezzor. The latest violence came after 154 people were killed nationwide on Monday: 54 civilians, 41 rebels and 59 regime troops, eight of whom were killed in a suicide car bombing against their checkpoint in Damascus, the Observatory said. — AFP

CAIRO: An alliance of Egyptian opposition parties decided yesterday that they would boycott forthcoming parliamentary elections in protest at an election law that they say favours the Muslim Brotherhood, increasing the chance that Islamists will sweep the vote. The boycott by liberal and leftist parties opposed to President Mohamed Morsi seeks to undermine the legitimacy of the vote, pointing to the polarisation that has defined Egyptian politics since Hosni Mubarak was toppled two years ago. It raises the prospect of a parliamentary election fought out mostly between Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood and more hardline Islamist groups such as the Salafi Nour Party. The vote is to be held in four stages between late April and June. The National Salvation Front (NSF) - an array of nascent liberal and leftist parties struggling to compete with the Islamists - said there should be no elections for the lower house of parliament without a law guaranteeing fair polls. The law was passed this month by the Islamist-dominated upper house of parliament, which has been exercising legislative power in the absence of a lower house. The Islamists deny opposition accusations that the law divides constituencies in a way that favours the Muslim Brotherhood. “There can be no elections without a law that guarantees the fairness of the election process and a government that can implement such a law and be trusted by the people,” said Sameh Ashour, a spokesman for the NSF, adding that there must also be “real independence of the judiciary”. With deep grassroots networks, the Islamists have won all of the elections held since Mubarak was swept from power in a popular uprising that for a while brought Egyptians together in a display of unity rarely seen since then. Divisions between the Islamists and their opponents have widened since Morsi won last year’s presidential election. Tensions spilt into lethal street violence late last year when the president was accused of staging a power grab - accusations dismissed by the Islamists as propaganda.

Seeking to convince the opposition to take part, Morsi had invited them to talks yesterday to address concerns about the vote. The NSF said it would not attend. “We tell President Morsi: talk with yourself and your party,” Ashour said. If the past is anything to go by, Morsi and the Brotherhood will press on regardless. In December, he held a referendum on a constitution opposed by the opposition, securing its approval and signing it into law despite fierce protest. “The call for boycott indicates the lack of trust the opposition has in the Brotherhood government and may also speak to their own capacities to effectively compete should they run,” said Elijah Zarwan, a Cairo-based political analyst. The boycott means parties led by some of the country’s most prominent non-Islamist politicians will sit out the vote. These include the

Popular Current led by Hamdeen Sabahy, a leftist who came third in the presidential election won by Mursi last June, and the Dustour Party led by Mohamed ElBaradei, a former UN nuclear agency chief. “This is to protest against the elections law that we did not participate in drafting, and about which our opinion was not taken,” said Heba Yassin, a spokeswoman for the Popular Current party. “We reject the continuation of Morsi’s oppressive policies that have led to nothing but more bloodshed and political problems.” The lower house was dissolved last year after a court ruling that the previous election law used to elect it was illegal. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party won about 40 percent of seats in the old lower house, with the Salafi Nour Party coming in second place. —Reuters

CAIRO: Egyptian National Salvation Front (NSF) leader and former Arab League secretary general Amr Moussa talks with journalists after attending a meeting with opposition leaders yesterday. — AFP



Europe in shock after Italy election impasse Grillo’s 5-Star Movement stuns nation

NAIVASHA, Kenya: Displaced Kenyan people, residents of a camp for the internally displaced named ‘Kihoto’, sit outside their makeshift shelters at Gilgil near this lakeside town on Feb 18, 2013. — AFP

Displaced Kenyans scarred and scared

NAKURU, Kenya: In makeshift camps on windswept barren land more than 100 families, chased from their homes in the wave of violence and killing that followed the disputed 2007 polls, are still waiting to be rehomed. In the run up to the next elections on March 4, these still displaced people camping around the town of Nakuru in Kenya’s Rift Valley fear renewed violence once more. They have been excluded from the reinstallation and compensation package that the Kenyan government set up in 2008, a deal criticised by rights groups and think tanks. “Efforts to resettle, compensate or reintegrate internally displaced people (IDPs)...have often been patchy, ill-informed and, at times, fraught with alleged corruption,” said the International Crisis Group (ICG) think tank. The group claims the process has “lacked transparency”. Over 1,100 people were killed in the 2007-2008 violence, and some 600,000 fled their homes in bloody ethnic conflict that shattered Kenya’s image as a beacon of regional stability. At one camp called Kihoto - meaning “victory” in the local Kikuyu language - 108 families have been squashed in together since 2008, even though they failed to negotiate the complicated bureaucratic process to register as officially displaced people. “Even if we were late to register we are still displaced,” protests Jeffrey Morua, 41, who heads the camp. Given that they were not allowed to join the official IDP camps, the families pooled what little money they had and bought this half acre of arid land for 100,000 Kenyan shillings ($1,125). Each family has a plot just nine

feet by six feet (2.7 m by 1.8 m). “It’s not big enough to build a decent house,” Morua said, pointing to the makeshift homes - rectangular structures made of tree branches covered with tarpaulin and bits of plastic. “To build permanent homes we’d need money for bricks and iron sheets,” he added. Water is scare, and the residents of Kihoto must purchase it by the jerrycan. The overcrowded school is several kilometres away, and the children from the camp are the first to be sent home when the classrooms are full. Some of the displaced do day labour on the surrounding farms for little more than a dollar a day. To feed their families they grow vegetables on land close by that is lying empty and that belongs to rich Nairobibased businessmen. “We want the government to recognise us as displaced people. We would like them to find us a place to live and to give us the allowance the others got,” said Teresa Wanja, 56, who uses a long wooden pole as a basic crutch. “I was trampled during the election violence, and am still in pain, we have no access to any kind of medical care,” she said. Her son lost an eye in the post-election violence and lives with his surviving sister. Her other daughter died in 2008, traumatised after having seen her neighbours pushed into their burning house and burnt alive. The Kenyan government insists the displaced people have been re-homed and compensated, saying that only some 700 families remain. Human Rights Watch (HRW) however claims more than 300,000 people are still displaced, were not registered and received no help. —AP

ROME: The Italian stock market fell and state borrowing costs rose yesterday as investors took fright at political deadlock after a stunning election that saw a comedian’s protest party lead the poll and no group secure a clear majority in parliament. “The winner is: Ingovernability” ran the headline in Rome newspaper Il Messaggero, reflecting the stalemate the country would have to confront in the next few weeks as sworn enemies would be forced to work together to form a government. In a sign of where that might lead, former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi indicated his centre-right might be open to a grand coalition with the centre-left bloc of Pier Luigi Bersani, which will have a majority in the lower house thanks to a premium of seats given to the largest bloc in the chamber. Results in the upper house, the Senate, where seats are awarded on a regionby-region basis, indicated the centre-left would end up with about 119 seats, compared with 117 for the centre-right. But 158 are needed for a majority to govern. Any coalition administration that may be formed must have a working majority in both houses in order to pass legislation. Comedian Beppe Grillo’s anti-establishment 5Star Movement won the most votes of any single party, taking 25 percent. He shows no immediate inclination to cooperate with other groups. Despite talk of a new election, the main established parties seem likely to try to avoid that, fearing even more humiliation. World financial markets reacted nervously to the prospect of a stalemate in the euro zone’s third largest economy with memories still fresh of the crisis that took the 17-member currency bloc to the brink of collapse in 2011.. In a clear sign of worry at the top over what effect the elections could have on the economy, Prime Minister Mario Monti, whose austerity policies were repudiated by voters, called a meeting with the governor of the central bank, the economy minister and the European affairs minister later yesterday. Other governments in the euro zone sounded uneasy. Allies of German Chancellor Angela Merkel made no secret of disappointment at Monti’s debacle and urged Rome to continue with economic reforms Berlin sees as vital to stabilising the common currency. France’s Socialist finance minister also expressed “worry” at the prospect of legislative deadlock in Italy but said that Italians had rejected austerity and hoped Bersani’s centre-left could form a stable government to help foster growth in Europe. Fabio Fois, an economist at Barclays bank, said: “Political instability is likely to prevail in the near term and slow the implementation of much needed structural reforms unless a grand coali-

Turkey wants to retrieve kids fostered outside their culture

ISTANBUL: Turkey has embarked on a campaign to retrieve children of Turkish immigrant families living in Europe who are fostered by foreigners, and instead place them in homes where their cultural identity can be preserved. The step comes after a court in the Netherlands refused last week to return nine-yearold Yunus - who had been taken into care by a Dutch lesbian couple to his biological Turkish family, reportedly citing the mother’s inability to speak Dutch. Turkey fears that children placed in Christian homes will forget their Muslim roots, and also disapproves of placements with gay couples. A statement from Turkey’s expatriates authority YTB said that Yunus’ foster parents frequently took him to church, and that “out of his confusion about the family institution”, he calls both foster parents “mother”. Following the verdict, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag told reporters: “Turkish families just do not want to give their kids to gay or lesbian couples. It is important for kids to be raised in an environment similar to (their) home culture.” Turkey had since stepped up efforts to guide the family through legal proce-

dures to get Yunus back. Failing that, Bozdag said, authorities would push to get the boy placed with parents the family would approve of. Unlike some European countries, same-sex marriages are not recognised in Muslim-majority Turkey where homosexuality remains taboo. Former Families Minister Aliye Kavaf found herself at the centre of a public row in 2010 after she described homosexuality as a “disease that needs to be treated”. The campaign specifically concerns the children of Turkish families living in countries like Germany or the Netherlands, both home to large Turkish expatriate populations. Germany is home to at least three million Turks, who make up the country’s largest minority, while around half a million Turks have set up home in the Netherlands. Turkey’s parliamentary Human Rights Commission estimates that at least 5,000 Turkish children in Germany have been placed in foster care. While the commission has not submitted any formal request to retrieve Turkish children, international conventions do give Turkey the right to do so, ruling party lawmaker Ayhan Sefer

All-women tussle for Paris mayor

PARIS: For the first time in the history of Paris, the battle for the mayor’s office - viewed as a springboard to higher office - shaping to be an allfemale affair in a watershed step forward for women. Although Socialist Mayor Bertrand Delanoe only steps down next year, at least three women have already thrown their hats into the ring to replace him, a surprise move in a country where top jobs have traditionally been a male preserve. Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, the glamorous former spokeswoman of ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, was the first to announce her intention to contest. “It took me a long time to make” the decision, said the 39-year-old, a prominent member of the right-wing UMP party. “But it comes from a real commitment, a serious commitment, to which I will devote all my heart and energy.” But there is in-house rivalry in the shape of another Sarkozy protege, Rachida Dati, his former justice minister and a 47-year-old single mother of North African origin. KosciuskoMorizet is endorsed by former prime minister Francois Fillon while Dati is

backed by Jean-Francois Cope, who has locked horns with Fillon to lead the UMP. The unchallenged Socialist candidate is deputy mayor Anne Hidalgo, 53, a close friend of the popular Delanoe, who was first elected in 2001 and has declared he will not be seeking a third mandate after two sixyear terms. Another potential candidate is Housing Minister Cecile Duflot, 37, from the Green party, who recently told a French newspaper that “nothing was excluded” as far as she was concerned. France’s Socialist President Francois Hollande had pledged to usher in gender parity during his election campaign and his 34-member cabinet is split down the middle between men and women. “The challenge - three women for Paris - I find that fascinating,” said Daniel CohnBendit, a member of the European Parliament and a leading player in the 1968 student riots that rocked France. “With the three nominations, France is keeping to its promise of equality, it’s the glass ceiling breaking,” said government spokeswoman Najat VallaudBelkacem. —AFP

Ustun, who heads the commission, told AFP. “We might exercise that right if protective measures continue to pose this problem,” he warned. Foreign ministry spokesperson Levent Gumrukcu confirmed that Ankara was keeping a “watchful eye” on fostering abroad. European fostering bodies take children into their care for different reasons: the death of the parents, poverty or parental negligence. They say their priority is to place the children under the protection of the best possible caregiver. “We try really hard to find the best possible match for the child in a foster home,” Hilje Wolfson, spokesperson for a Dutch foster foundation, told AFP. “That’s why we always first look into the network: are there family members who can take care of a child?” she said. They did make efforts to keep Turkish children in their original environment so they could keep their ties with their culture, she added. Part of the problem is that very few children are fostered by other Turkish families, usually only by European families. “Throughout these 50 years we lived in Europe, we have established mosques, tea shops, restaurants... But apparently we never thought of our posterity,” said Kamil Altay, head of the Germany-based Umut Yildizi (Star of Hope), established to encourage Turkish expatriates to foster. “There were virtually no Turkish foster families before this campaign - kids naturally end up with European families and forget their languages and culture,” he added. “After years of foster care, they sometimes do not even know they are Turkish.” In the case that a child needs fostering, the NGO helps families submit to court a list of potential legal guardians they know and trust, the head of Umut Yildizi’s Dutch branch Kasim Akdemir told AFP. “Families do not even know their rights... If more Turks step in, this will help relieve the Dutch authorities too,” Akdemir added. “I think (children) are way happier if they are placed in Turkish families, who speak their language, cook meals the way their mother does,” said Nejla Buran, a 47-year-old Turkish activist. In 2007, she became a foster mother to two brothers, then aged two-and-a-half and eight. Buran, who also has three children of her own, said she believes the boys would have suffered a “second trauma” if they had been placed in a German home, with parents who did not speak their language. “The welfare agency instructed the boys to address me as Frau (Mrs) Buran but they switched to ‘auntie’ right away,” she said. And, she added: “Our doors are also open to the biological family any time of the day.” — AFP

ROME: Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti speaks during a press conference at his headquarters in downtown Rome on Monday. — AFP tion among centre-left, centre-right and centre is Star, by just 125,000 votes, to control the lower formed.” Berlusconi, a media magnate whose house. The worries immediately went beyond campaigning all but wiped out Bersani’s once Italy’s borders. “What is crucial now is that a stacommanding opinion poll lead, hinted in a tele- ble functioning government can be built as swiftphone call to a morning television show that he ly as possible,” said German Foreign Minister would be open to a deal with the centre-left - but Guido Westerwelle. “This is not only in the internot with Monti, the technocrat summoned to ests of Italy but in the interests of all Europe.” The replace him in a crisis 15 months ago. “Italy must euro skidded to an almost seven-week low be governed,” Berlusconi said, adding that he against the dollar in Asia on fears about the euro “must reflect” on a possible deal with the centre- zone’s debt crisis. It fell as far as $1.3042, its lowleft. “Everyone must be prepared to make sacri- est since Jan 10. Commentators said all Grillo’s adversaries fices,” he said of the groups which now have a underestimated the appeal of a grassroots moveshare of the legislature. The Milan bourse was down more than four ment that called itself a “non-party”, particularly percent and the premium Italy pays over its allure among young Italians who find themGermany to borrow on 10-year widened to a selves without jobs and the prospect of a decent yield spread of 338.7 basis points, the highest future. The 5-star Movement’s score of 25.5 persince Dec 10. At an auction of six-month Treasury cent in the lower house was just ahead of the bills, the government’s borrowing costs shot up 25.4 percent for Bersani’s Democratic Party, by more than two thirds. Investors demanded a which ran in a coalition with the leftist SEL party, yield of 1.237 percent, the highest since October and it won almost 8.7 million votes overall - more and compared to just 0.730 percent in a similar than any other single party. “The ‘non-party’ has sale a month ago. Berlusconi, who was forced become the largest party in the country,” said from office in Nov 2011 as borrowing costs Massimo Giannini, commentator for Rome newsapproached levels investors feared would paper La Repubblica, of Grillo, who mixes fierce become unsustainable, said he was “not worried” attacks on corruption with policies ranging from about market reaction to the election and played clean energy to free Internet. Grillo’s surge in the final weeks of the campaign threw the race open, down the significance of the spread. The poor showing by Monti’s centrist bloc with hundreds of thousands turning up at his ralreflected a weariness with austerity that was lies to hear him lay into targets ranging from corexploited by both Berlusconi and Grillo; only with rupt politicians and bankers to German the help of centre-left allies did Bersani beat 5- Chancellor Angela Merkel. —Reuters



US court won’t allow challenge to surveillance law

WASHINGTON: A sharply- divided Supreme Court yesterday threw out an attempt by U.S. citizens to challenge the expansion of a surveillance law used to monitor conversations of foreign spies and terrorist suspects. With a 5-4 vote, the high court ruled that a group of American lawyers, journalists and organizations cannot sue to challenge the 2008 expansion of the Foreign Intelligence Sur veillance Act (FISA) because they can’t prove that the government will monitor their conversations along with those of potential foreign terrorist and intelligence targets. Justices “have been reluctant to endorse standing theories that require guesswork,” said Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote for the court’s majority. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or

FISA, was enacted in 1978. It allows the government to monitor conversations of foreign spies and terrorist suspects abroad for intelligence purposes. The 2008 FISA amendments allow the government to obtain from a secret court broad, yearlong intercept orders, raising the prospect that phone calls and emails between those foreign targets and innocent Americans in this country would be swept under the umbrella of surveillance. Without proof that the law would directly affect them, Americans cannot sue, Alito said in the ruling. Despite their documented fears and the expense of activities that some Americans have taken to be sure they don’t get caught up in government monitoring, they “have set forth no spe-

cific facts demonstrating that the communications of their foreign contacts will be targeted,” he added. Alito also said the FISA expansion merely authorizes, but does not mandate or direct, the government monitoring. Because of that, he said, “respondents’ allegations are necessarily conjectural. Simply put, respondents can only speculate as to how the attorney general and the Director of National Intelligence will exercise their discretion in determining which communications to target.” Alito was joined in his decision by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Justice Stephen Breyer, writing in dissent, said that he would have allowed the lawsuit to move forward because he thinks “the

government has a strong motive to listen to conversations of the k ind described.” “We need only assume that the government is doing its job (to find out about, and combat terrorism) in order to conclude that there is a high probability that the government will intercept at least some electronic communication to which at least some of the plaintiffs are party,” Breyer said. “The majority is wrong when it describes the harm threatened plaintiffs as “speculative,” Breyer said. He was joined in his dissent by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. A federal judge originally threw out the lawsuit, saying the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue. But the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the lawsuit. The

Supreme Court was not considering the constitutionality of the expansion, only whether lawyers could file a lawsuit to challenge it in federal court. Alito re-emphasized that point, saying the decision did not insulate the FISA expansion from judicial review, and he suggested a couple of ways a challenge could be brought to court, including a scenario in which an American lawyer actually did get swept up in FISA monitoring. “It is possible that the monitoring of the target’s conversations with his or her attorney would provide grounds for a claim of standing on the part of the attorney,” Alito said. “Such an attorney would cer tainly have a stronger evidentiary basis for establishing standing than do respondents in the present case.” —AP

Officer wanted to kill me, eat others, says cop’s wife ‘Can’t convict people for their sick thoughts’

KANSAS: Westar Energy crews begin work on snow covered power lines in Lawrence yesterday. — AP

Second winter storm in days blasts central US

KANSAS CITY: The second major snowstorm in a week battered the nation yesterday, dropping a half-foot or more of snow across Missouri and Kansas and cutting power to thousands. Gusting winds blew drifts more than 2 feet high and created treacherous driving conditions for those who dared the morning commute. About 40,000 people in northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas awoke to no power as heavy, wet snow weighed on power lines. Kansas City, Mo, was in a state of emergency as blinding snowfall - made worst by sustained gusts estimated at 30 mph or higher - made car and truck traffic too dangerous. About 8 inches of new snow had fallen on parts of the Kansas City metro area as the sun rose yesterday. Flights in and out of Kansas City International Airport were canceled, schools, government offices and businesses across the region were closed. City buses were getting stuck. Numerous accidents were reported in the area, and Mayor Sly James declared the emergency in an unwanted encore to a major snowstorm that dumped nearly a foot of snow on his city just five days earlier. He urged residents to stay home, given that the new storm was expected to dump nearly a foot of new snow on the city. “This one has the potential to be quite serious,” James said. A strong low pressure system fueled the storm, which also included heavy rain and thunderstorms in eastern Oklahoma and Texas. The storm knocked power out to thousands of homes in Texas and Oklahoma and was blamed for the death of a 21-year-old man whose SUV hit an icy patch on Interstate 70 in northwestern Kansas and overturned Monday. In Oklahoma, a person was killed after 15 inches of snow brought down part of a roof in the northwest town of Woodward. In the Texas Panhandle, wind gusts up to 75 mph and heavy snow had made all roads impassable and created whiteout conditions, said Paul Braun, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Transportation. A hurricane-force gust of 75 mph was recorded at the Amarillo, Texas, airport. The

city saw the biggest snowfall total in Texas with 17 inches. Motorists were stranded throughout the Texas Panhandle, with the NWS in Lubbock reporting as many as 100 vehicles at a standstill on Interstate 27. Schools and major highways in the Texas Panhandle remained closed for a second day yesterday. State officials said they hoped that stretches of Interstate 40 near the Oklahoma border, which have been closed since Monday morning, would reopen by yesterday afternoon. Whiteout conditions further impeded efforts to clear roads of more than a foot of snow in western Oklahoma early yesterday. Texas Tech’s men’s basketball team stayed overnight at a hotel in Manhattan, Kan, after playing Kansas State on Monday night, rather try to drive back to Lubbock. Also late Monday, officials with Oklahoma State University announced it would be closed yesterday due to the weather. The American Red Cross opened a shelter Monday night in Woodward, Okla, for stranded travelers. It also told its volunteers and workers in Kansas City to be prepared to help in the case of power outages or large numbers of stranded travelers. Area hospitals closed outpatient and urgent care centers, and the University of Missouri canceled classes yesterday. The Missouri Department of Transportation issued a “no travel” advisory asking people to stay off affected highways except in case of a dire emergency. Meteorologist Mike Umscheid of the National Weather Service office in Dodge City, Kan, said this latest storm combined with the storm last week will help alleviate the drought conditions that have plagued farmers and ranchers across the Midwest, and could be especially helpful to the winter wheat crop planted last fall. But getting two back-to-back storms of this magnitude doesn’t mean the drought is finished. “If we get one more storm like this with widespread 2 inches of moisture, we will continue to chip away at the drought, but to claim the drought is over or ending is way too premature,” Umscheid said. — AP

Nixon offered next high court vacancy in 73: Bork WASHINGTON: Robert Bork says President Richard Nixon promised him the next Supreme Court vacancy after Bork complied with Nixon’s order to fire Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox in 1973. Bork’s recollection of his role in the Saturday Night Massacre that culminated in Cox’s firing is at the center of his slim memoir, “Saving Justice,” that is being published posthumously by Encounter Books. Bork died in December at age 85. Bork writes that he didn’t know if Nixon actually, though mistakenly, believed he still had the political clout to get someone confirmed to the Supreme Court or was just trying to secure Bork’s continued loyalty as his administration crumbled in the Watergate scandal. President Ronald Reagan nominated Bork to the high court in 1987. The nomination failed in the Senate. Bork describes a surreal time in Washington as the Watergate scandal began to consume the government and the country, and a sense of paranoia prevailed. Bork says that soon after his arrival in Washington in 1973, White House Chief of Staff Alexander Haig tried to persuade him to resign as Solicitor General to become Nixon’s chief defense lawyer. Bork sought out his good friend Alexander Bickel to discuss the offer. Rather than talk inside Bork’s home in McLean, Virginia, they walked along

a dark, semi-rural road so that no one would overhear them. Bork turned down the offer. When Bork and Attorney General Eliot Richardson were called to the Oval Office to discuss plans to indict Vice President Spiro Agnew, the two men ducked into a restroom where Richardson turned on all the faucets so their conversation would not be picked up by electronic eavesdropping. Most details about Bork’s role on the tumultuous evening of October 20, 1973, immortalized as the Saturday Night Massacre, are well known. Nixon ordered Richardson to fire Cox over the prosecutor’s subpoena of White House tapes. Richardson resigned rather than carry out the order. The next in line, William Ruckelshaus, refused to fire Cox and was himself fired. That left Bork, whose main job was arguing in front of the Supreme Court and who also was the third-ranking Justice Department official. Bork says his initial inclination was to fire Cox and then resign so as not to be seen as a White House toady. He says Richardson and Ruckelshaus encouraged him to stay on for the good of the Justice Department. In the end, Bork served as acting Attorney General until January 1974, and stayed on as Solicitor General until January 1977. Nixon resigned in August 1974.—AP

NEW YORK: The estranged wife of a New York City police officer struggled to keep her composure Monday as she testified about discovering shocking emails and other evidence on his computer showing he had discussed killing her and abducting, torturing and eating other women. “I was going to be tied up by my feet and my throat slit, and they were going to watch the blood drain out of me,” Kathleen Mangan-Valle told a Manhattan jury. Mangan-Valle, 27, also read about plans to put one friend in a suitcase, wheel her out of her building and murder her. Two other women were “going to be raped in front of each other to heighten their fears,” while another was going to be roasted alive over an open fire, she said. “The suffering was for his enjoyment, and he wanted to make it last as long as possible,” she said. Mangan-Valle broke down in tears several times, but the emotional peak of the day came when a defense attorney showed her pictures of Officer Gilberto Valle in uniform feeding their newborn daughter, prompting both her and Valle to openly weep as the judge sent the jury away for an afternoon break. The drama came on the first day of testimony at the closely watched trial of the 28-year-old Valle, a babyfaced defendant dubbed the “Cannibal Cop” by city tabloids. Valle is accused of conspiring to kidnap a woman and unauthorized use of a law enforcement database that prosecutors say he used to help build a list of potential targets. A conviction on the kidnapping count carries a possible life sentence. The officer has claimed his online discussions of cannibalism were harmless fetish fantasies. But in opening statements Monday, a prosecutor said “very real women” were put in jeopardy. “Make no mistake,” said Assistant US Attorney Randall Jackson. “Gilbert Valle was very serious about these plans.” Defense attorney Julia Gatto argued that her client “never intended to kidnap anyone.” She added: “You can’t convict people for their thoughts, even if they’re sick.” A college graduate and New York Police Department patrolman, Valle appeared to be leading a normal life

before “things got bad,” his wife said. “Weird stuff started happening.” Mangan-Valle testified her husband began asking questions about where she liked to jog, what the lighting was like and whether other people were around. Using spyware on his computer, she said, she

This undated photo shows Gilberto Valle with his daughter. — AP uncovered gruesome photos and the names, heights and weights of women. She also found that he had visited a fetish website that featured images of dead women. “I was scared. ... I’d never seen that before,” she said. Once Mangan-Valle fled her home and reported his strange behavior to the FBI last year, agents uncovered “a heinous plot to kidnap, rape, murder and cannibalize a number of very real women,” Jackson said. The officer had attempted to contact potential victims, including a New York City elementary school teacher, to learn more about their jobs and residences, the prosecutor said. His Internet research also included the best rope to tie someone up with, recipes, human flesh,

white slavery and chemicals that can knock someone out, Jackson said. Gatto countered in her opening statement that there was “no proof of a crime here. The charges are pure fiction.” Valle, she said, had always been aroused by “unusual things,” including the thought of a woman boiled down on a platter with an apple in her mouth. He found a home at a fetish website with 38,000 registered members, where regulars discuss “suffocating women, cooking and eating them,” she said. The defense has denied that Mangan-Valle was a potential victim. Valle had made clear that his wife “was unavailable for any kidnapping fantasy,” the defense has said in court papers. On cross-examination, Gatto asked Mangan-Valle if she declined to meet with the defense before the trial began. “You’re representing the man who wants to kill me,” she responded. “No, I don’t want to talk to you.” Valle is expected to take the stand to make the case that it was all role-playing fantasy. The defense also is planning to call experts to explain the fetish subculture and to show jurors the videotaped testimony of the fetish website’s co-founder Sergey Merenkov. Merenkov called the site “a clone of Facebook, but it is oriented to people with fetishes that are not considered standard.” Asked about the most popular fetishes, he responded, “All sorts of asphyxiation” and “peril cannibalism.” Tiger Howard Devore, a psychologist and certified sex therapist who specializes in dealing with sexual dysfunction and fetishes, said the cannibalism fetish known as voreaphilia isn’t common. “For most laymen, they’re going to think about it as cannibalism,” Devore told The Associated Press in an interview Monday. “But what it really is, is an obsession about consuming the flesh of the other, and this can have a whole range of expressions. ... It is mostly played out in fantasy, mostly played out in roleplaying.” There are well-k nown criminal extremes like Jeffrey Dahmer, who saved pieces of his victims’ body parts and ate the flesh, Devore said, though “the instances of this kind of violence are extremely rare.” — AP

Jindal faces troubles in his home state

Chuck Hagel

Senate to vote on moving ahead on nod from Hagel

WASHINGTON: A deeply divided Senate is moving toward a vote on President Barack Obama’s contentious choice of Chuck Hagel to head the Defense Department, with the former Republican senator on track to win confirmation after a protracted political fight. Twelve days after Republicans stalled the nomination, the Senate was slated to vote Tuesday on proceeding with the Hagel selection after Republican lawmakers signaled late Monday they would end their delaying tactics. If Hagel gets the necessary votes, it would just be a matter of time for a simple up-or-down vote, although Republicans could insist on the maximum 30 hours of debate before a final vote. If confirmed, Hagel would succeed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and join Obama’s retooled national security team just days before automatic, across-theboard budget cuts hit the Pentagon unless Obama and congressional Republicans reach a last-minute budget deal. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin said he was optimistic about the vote’s outcome and said it was critical for the Senate to act quickly on Hagel’s nomination. “Given sequestration, it’s really

important that we have a secretary of defense who is in place when that hits, if it hits,” Levin told reporters Monday, referring to the looming automatic spending cuts. “I want to still say ‘if’ because I’m a perennial optimist.” Hagel’s nomination bitterly split the Senate, with Republicans turning on their former colleague and Democrats standing by Obama’s nominee. The president got no points with Republicans for tapping the former two-term senator from Nebraska and twice-wounded Vietnam combat veteran. Republican lawmakers excoriated Hagel over his past statements and votes. They argued that he was too critical of Israel and too compromising with Iran. They cast the Nebraskan as a radical far out of the mainstream. Republican Sen John McCain clashed with his onetime friend over Hagel’s opposition to President George W. Bush’s decision to send an extra 30,000 troops to Iraq in 2007 at a point when the war seemed in danger of being lost. Hagel, who voted to authorize militar y force in Iraq, later opposed the conflict, comparing it to Vietnam and arguing that it shifted the focus from Afghanistan.—AP

BATON ROUGE: Gov Bobby Jindal faces deepening troubles in his home state even as he dishes out advice on how the divided GOP can regroup and looks to position himself as a national party front man. The new head of the Republican Governors Association, who also is a potential future White House contender, has made a series of cuts to health services and colleges, drawing criticism from affected constituents and Republicans who say he’s not cut enough. And while he delighted conservative policy wonks nationally with his signature measures overhauling education and public employee pensions, those laws are tied up in state court as Republican judges claim constitutional concerns. At the same time, recent polls suggest that Jindal’s onceformidable job performance rating has fallen below 50 percent just over a year after he was re-elected without serious opposition. “He’s got a large number of people in Louisiana who just do not like him,” said Baton Rouge based pollster Bernie Pinsonat, not usually a Jindal critic. The question isn’t necessarily how Jindal’s circumstances affect him inside his own party, where he remains popular among vocal conservatives. “He’s done some serious reforms and taken a stand against establishment thinking,” said South Carolina Republican Chairman Chad Connelly, whose state expects to host the first Southern primary in 2016. But any governor seeking a national platform must find a way to frame his political approach for a broader audience, and the challenge for a Republican Party that has lost five of the last six presidential popular votes is to find standard bearers who satisfy the GOP base, while widening it, too. Bill Clinton sold the nation in 1992 on Arkansas progress, overcoming mockery of his “Arkansas miracle.” Eight years later, George W. Bush framed his work with Texas Democrats, who ran the legislature, as proof that he was a “uniter, not a divider.” The first ingredient, Pinsonat said, is having your own people call you a success, adding: “If I’m from another state and the guy’s not popular in his home state, no matter what he says after that, I don’t know if you hear the rest of it.” Barred from seeking re-election, Jindal’s second term ends January 2016, neatly dovetailing with the first caucuses and primaries of the 2016 cycle. Timmy Teepell, a former Jindal chief of staff who now advises Jindal and other Republicans as a campaign consultant, said his old boss isn’t preoccupied with the political chessboard - with the obvious exception of electing more GOP governors during his RGA tenure. “If you do the big things, the right things for the right reasons,” Teepell said, “then people will appreciate it. Sometimes it just takes time to see results.” In the wake of Mitt Romney’s competitive-but-decisive loss to President Barack Obama in November, Jindal has been at the forefront of delivering sharp criticism to the GOP.—AP



Tamil suspects raped by govt: Rights group Victims describe being beaten, burned, hung by their arms

NEW DELHI: Indian passengers travel on a local train yesterday. — AFP

India pledges more ease on creaking rail network

NEW DELHI: India yesterday pledged better catering, comfort and cleanliness as part a $11.7-billion budget for Asia’s oldest rail network along with steps to help stop trains mowing down people and elephants. Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal hiked freight rates by five percent in his budget for the sprawling state-run network, India’s main form of long-distance transport despite competition from airlines and roads. For the first time, the cost of shipping goods will be linked to fuel prices, Bansal added, in a move highlighting the Congress-led government’s resolve to reinin deficit-ballooning subsidies for publicly owned companies. He held fares steady after hiking them last month for the millions of train passengers who travel daily but said they would have to rise in future and insisted the troubled service must be made “financially sustainable”. The annual budget for one of the world’s largest rail networks is presented separately due to huge freight and passenger volumes. It will be followed Friday by the national budget that economists expect to feature the most belt-tightening in years in a bid to close a widening deficit gap and boost investor confidence. Bansal, presenting his maiden rail budg-

et for the financial year to March 2014, promised to improve catering, comfort, cleanliness and safety aboard trains as well as to build more lines and introduce new trains. “A plan investment of 633.63 billion rupees is proposed for 2013-14,” Bansal told parliament. The Victorian-era railways-built by India’s former British colonial rulers-bills itself as the “lifeline to the nation” because of its vast reach but it has become decrepit and accident-prone through lack of investment. Bansal promised to significantly reduce the number of unmanned crossings which claim the lives of around 15,000 people annually, according to recent figures-a number the government describes as a “massacre”. “We will strive to work towards a zero accident situation,” he said. For India’s estimated 26,000 wild elephants, he also pledged “special measures” to “safeguard the lives of these gentle giants” which are sometimes hit at railway crossings in forested areas. In December, a passenger train killed five elephants crossing tracks in eastern India. The government has said it is considering imposing speed restrictions on trains at major elephant crossing points to reduce the number of fatalities. — AFP

Complaints on US-led Afghan troops to be checked: Kerry LONDON: US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday complaints against Afghans working for US special forces in Afghanistan would be investigated, a day after Afghan President Hamid Karzai ordered US troops to leave a critical battleground province. Karzai’s spokesman on Sunday said Karzai had decided that all US special forces must leave Wardak province within two weeks, after accusations that Afghans working for them had tortured and killed innocent people. The move could further complicate talks between the United States and Afghanistan over the presence of American troops in the country once most NATO forces leave by the end of 2014. “With respect to Afghanistan and Wardak province, I understand the concerns that they have expressed. And appropriately, any complaints that they may have ought to be appropriately evaluated, and they will be, I can assure you,” Kerry told reporters during a visit to London. Kerry said it was up to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to investigate. On Sunday ISAF said it was aware of the allegations of misconduct but would not comment further until it had spoken to Afghan officials. In Washington, a US defense official said no ISAF troops themselves were involved in any misconduct, as earlier Afghan statements had alleged. “In recent months, a thorough review in cooperation with the Defense Ministry and National Directorate of Security has con-

firmed that no coalition forces have been involved in the alleged misconduct in Wardak province,” the official said. “Because we take these allegations seriously, ISAF and Afghanistan officials have agreed to a joint commission to look into the current concerns of citizens in Maidan Wardak.” Relations between Karzai and his international backers have at times been fraught, with the Afghan president warning that civilian deaths could sap support for foreign troops and fuel the insurgency. Earlier this month, Karzai said Afghan security forces would be banned from calling for NATO air strikes in residential areas after 10 civilians died in one such strike. Karzai’s anger over the conduct of Afghan troops working with ISAF raises the pressure on Afghan forces as they increasingly assume control of security. NATO and its partners are racing against the clock to train Afghanistan’s 350,000strong security forces, though questions remain over how well the Afghans will be able tackle the insurgency in the face of intensifying violence. Kerry said Karzai had “many legitimate evaluations” of where things have gone wrong or could be improved but indicated that negotiations on transition and an agreement on the presence of some US troops in Afghanistan after 2014 were going well. “We’re working on a bilateral security arrangement; we’re working on this transition process. We’ve had a very good conversation with the President (Karzai) in the last days,” Kerry said. — Reuters

NEW DELHI: Indian protestors step on a poster featuring the head of banned Pakistani charity Jamat ud Dawa, Hafiz Saeed during a protest yesterday. Protestors were demanding that Hafiz Syed be brought to India and hanged in the same manner as Ajmal Kasab, the only terrorist captured alive after the 2008 Mumbai attacks and Kashmiri separatist Afzul Guru, who was involved in a deadly attack on the Indian parliament in 2001. — AFP

COLOMBO: An international human rights group alleges Sri Lankan security forces continue to use torture, rape and other forms of sexual violence against suspected members of the Tamil Tiger rebels and their supporters, nearly four years after the end of the country’s civil war. The military denied the allegations. In a report released yesterday, New York-based Human Rights Watch said that although the decades-long war ended in May 2009, politically motivated sexual violence against suspects in custody continues to this day. It called for an international investigation into the practice. “Sri Lankan security forces have committed untold numbers of rapes of Tamil men and women in custody,” said Brad Adams, the group’s Asia director. “ These are not just wartime atrocities but continue to the present, putting every Tamil man and woman arrested for suspected LTTE involvement at serious risk,” Adams said, using the acronym for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the formal name of the rebels. The violent 26-year war saw ethnic minority Tamil rebels fighting for their own homeland against troops from the Sinhalese majority government. More than 100,000 people were killed on both sides before the government crushed the rebels with a bloody push into rebel-controlled northern areas. A UN report has said tens of thousands of civilians were killed in the final five months of fighting alone. The rebels themselves have been accused of widespread atrocities, including holding civil-

ians as human shields, using child soldiers and killing people who tried to leave areas under their control. The report comes as the United Nations Human Rights Council is set to discuss Sri Lanka’s alleged wartime abuses at its annual meeting in Geneva this week. The United States has said it will introduce a resolution at the meeting urging a full accounting of what happened at the end of the war. Militar y spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya rejected Human Rights Watch’s allegations, saying they lack credibility. He called them “fabricated allegations” and “good creative writing.” The 41-page report, titled “‘We Will Teach You a Lesson’: Sexual Violence against Tamils by Sri Lankan Security Forces,” provides detailed accounts of 75 cases of alleged rape and sexual abuse that occurred from 2006-2012 in both official and secret detention centers throughout Sri Lanka. Human Rights Watch said most of the victims spoke to them outside of Sri Lanka, and it corroborated their accounts with medical and legal reports. Because Human Rights Watch was not able to openly conduct research in Sri Lanka or interview people still in custody, it said the cases in its report likely represent only a tiny fraction of custodial rape in political cases. It said many of the cases followed a pattern of an individual being abducted from home by unidentified men, taken to a detention center, and abusively interrogated about alleged activities of the rebels. It said men and women reported being raped on multiple days, often by several

people, with the army, police, and pro-government paramilitary groups frequently participating. The victims also described being beaten, hung by their arms, partially asphyxiated, and burned with cigarettes. None of those who spoke to Human Rights Watch had access to legal counsel, family members or doctors while they were detained, the group said. Wanigasooriya, the military spokesman, said there had been no cases of rape or sexual harassments as described in the report. “If there are proper complaints with the relevant authorities, the army is ready to investigate them,” he said. He said security forces rescued 300,000 civilians during the war and have resettled them, while another 12,000 ex-rebel combatants have been rehabilitated. “None of these persons have come with a complaint of this nature. This is another lie the Human Rights Watch has released,” he said. Last week, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay faulted Sri Lanka for failing to properly investigate reports of atrocities during the war, and said government opponents continue to be killed and abducted. “ The government ’s response to allegations of sexual violence by its security forces have been dismissive, deeming them as ‘fake’ or ‘pro-LTTE propaganda,’” Adams said in a statement yesterday. “It’s not clear who in the government knew about these horrific crimes. But the government’s failure to take action against these ongoing abuses is further evidence of the need for an international investigation.” — AP

Indian surrogate mothers tell their tales NEW DELHI: As baby Lili celebrates her first birthday in Australia, far away in India her surrogate mother recalls the day the child was born-and on whom she never laid eyes. “I averted my gaze,” says Seita Thapa, recounting her experience of giving birth at the Surrogacy Centre India clinic in New Delhi last February on behalf of a gay male couple who used an egg donated from another woman. “Why would I want to see the child? — I have my own children,” said the mother of two teenagers aged 16 and 18, adding that the clinic gives courses that “prepare us mentally for the fact it’s not our baby”. Commercial surrogacy is a booming industry in India with legions of childless foreign couples looking for a low-cost, legally simple route to parenthood. While the Indian government has been pushing the country as a medical tourism destination, the issue of wealthy foreigners paying poor Indians to have babies has raised ethical concerns in many Indian minds about “baby factories”. The Confederation of Indian Industry, a leading business association, estimates the industry now generates more than $2 billion in revenues annually. In a bid to silence critics, India recently issued rules barring foreign gay couples and singles from using surrogates, drawing sharp criticism from rights advocates and fertility clinics who called the move discriminatory, but the industry remains otherwise unregulated. Clinic owners deny ill-treatment of mothers, saying it is in their interest to treat the women well in order for them to have healthy babies. Thapa, 31, who has the jet-black hair and almond eyes of the Indians of the northeast, said she has no doubt what she did was right in allowing the Australian couple to use her womb to fulfil their dream of parenthood. “I wanted to be a surrogate mother because I wanted to deposit money into an account for my children for their future. I also wanted to help parents who cannot have children,” Thapa said. “I am proud to have given birth to a beautiful baby. “The baby and parents are in my prayers forever. I feel like part of the family,” added the former cook, her eyes suddenly bright with tears. She refused to say how much money she earned from the surrogacy but says she wants to start a second pregnancy in April. The clinic told AFP the mothers get $6,000 from the $28,000 total surrogacy procedure cost.

NEW DELHI: In this photograph, Indian doctor Shivani Gour speaks to AFP at the Surrogacy Centre India (SCI) clinic in New Delhi. — AFP

During her pregnancy, Thapa lived with her husband in accommodation in New Delhi rented by the Surrogacy Centre India clinic, with over 100 other surrogates. Thapa’s own children in their hometown of Darjeeling never knew their mother was pregnant. “I didn’t tell them so as not to disturb their studies,” she said. In 2012, 291 babies were born in the clinic that opened in 2008. They now live in 15 different countries, including Canada, Australia, Japan, Norway and Brazil. In New Delhi and across India, there are dozens of clinics like the Surrogacy Centre but many refuse to open their doors to the media. According to Dr Shivani Sachdev Gour, director of the centre, the women recruited never have the desire to keep the baby they have carried for nine months. “They have their own children, they’ve finished building their families,” she said, calling people who oppose surrogacy “ignorant”. “They should come here to meet parents who dream of having a child. How can they deny them this right?” Marcia, a 40-year-old Brazilian who lives in Luxembourg, is one such case. After trying for three years, Marcia has just arrived with her husband in New Delhi to sign a contract with the clinic.

“When I look at the photographs of all these babies in the waiting room, I want to cry,” she told AFP, refusing to reveal her full name because she has not told her family about her step. “I’d rather not meet the surrogate mother who is chosen-especially since it is not certain the pregnancy will be successful. We’ve already had so much disappointment.” She said she will initially attempt to have her own embryos transferred into the womb of the surrogate mother but if that fails, she will opt for an “egg donation”. “At first it was difficult to get used to the idea of another woman carrying my child, but if this is the only solution, then we will have a baby this way-it’s like a miracle,” Marcia said. Gour said the clinic organises counselling sessions for the surrogate mothers to stress the importance of eating nourishing food, adding the majority of the women want to repeat the experience. Mamta Sharma, 29, from one of India’s poorest states, Uttar Pradesh, has been a surrogate mother twice, most recently last year for an Australian couple. “Everything has changed in my life with the money I got,” said the mother of four children who invested her earnings in a new house. —AFP

Gunmen kill Pak officer escorting polio team PESHAWAR: Gunmen shot and killed a police officer yesterday who was protecting a team of polio workers during a UNbacked vaccination campaign in northwestern Pakistan. It was the latest of several attacks on Pakistani efforts to eradicate the deadly disease, found in only three countries in the world. Militant extremists view the vaccination campaigns as Westernbacked plots to gain intelligence in sensitive areas and have frequently targeted the medical staff and those protecting polio teams. No polio workers were wounded in yesterday’s attack in the Mardan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said police officer Fazal Wahid. At least two attackers were hiding in a field near a narrow road as the polio workers walked by on their way to visit houses in the area, said Mardan Police Chief Inam Jan. “ The polio workers were going door-to-door and one police officer was protecting them when the gunmen suddenly attacked them near an open

area and fled,” Jan said, adding that the police were searching for the attackers but that so far no one had been arrested. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack and it wasn’t immediately known whether the police officer was targeted because he was protecting the polio team or for some other reason. Janbaz Afridi, a senior health official, said the polio vaccination campaign continued in various parts of the province yesterday despite the killing. “We have taken best possible steps for the safety of polio teams,” he said. In 2012, humanitarian workers, including those working to prevent the polio spread, were repeatedly targeted. According to UN figures, 19 humanitarian workers were killed last year in Pakistan. Of those deaths, 11 were related to polio, including a rash of shootings in December when nine polio workers were killed across Pakistan. In an effort to protect people administering the vaccine, the government has increasingly sent police officers into the field along

with the vaccinator. But they have come under attack as well. On Jan 29, gunmen riding on a motorcycle shot and killed a police officer protecting polio workers in the Swabi district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Mazhar Nisar, a senior official working with the Prime Minister’s polio monitoring cell, said at least 11 members of polio teams have been killed in various parts of Pakistan since December. Some militant groups in Pakistan oppose the vaccination campaign, accusing health workers of acting as spies for the United States or the Pakistani government. They are also angered since it became known that a Pakistani doctor helped in the US hunt for Osama bin Laden. The physician, Shakil Afridi, ran a hepatitis vaccination campaign on behalf of the CIA to collect blood samples from bin Laden’s family at a compound in northwestern city of Abbottabad, where US commandos killed the al-Qaida leader in May 2011. The samples were intended to help the US match the family’s DNA to

verify bin Laden’s presence there. In the recently released film about the search for bin Laden, “Zero Dark Thirty,” a short scene shows a man going to vaccinate people at the compound where bin Laden was hiding. The campaign however is portrayed in the movie as an antipolio campaign, not anti-hepatitis. The campaigns are made more complicated by the fact that many Pakistani residents are also suspicious of the repeated vaccination efforts going on across the country and fear the vaccines are intended to make Muslim children sterile. Pakistan is one of the few remaining countries, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria, where polio is rampant. As many as 56 polio cases were reported in Pakistan during 2012, down from 190 in 2011. Most of the new cases in Pakistan were in the northwest, where the presence of militants makes it difficult to reach children for vaccination. The virus usually infects children living in unsanitary conditions. It attacks the nerves and can kill or paralyze. —AP



Myanmar leader in Oslo, to seek deeper ties with West Future democratic reforms under spotlight

OSLO: Myanmar’s President Thein Sein (right) meets with Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Espen Barth Eide, yesterday. —AFP

World powers, Iran trade offers... Continued from Page 1 to make a nuclear bomb. “We have come here with a revised offer and we have come to engage with Iran in a meaningful way,” Ashton said on behalf of the world powers at the start of the negotiations. Iran would have to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent and shut down its controversial Fordo plant where such activity occurs. An Iranian source told AFP Tehran had come up with a counter-offer whose final nature would be determined by terms posed by the big powers. The source stressed “there was no question” of Tehran closing the Fordo plant where uranium is enriched to up to 20 percent a level seen as being within technical reach of weapons-grade matter. But he added that Iran could envisage halting the enrichment of uranium to 20 percent if all international sanctions against it were dropped. US Secretary of State John Kerry said on a visit to Berlin that there is a “diplomatic path” in the nuclear crisis and expressed hope that “Iran itself will make its choice to move down the path of a diplomatic solution”. The talks pit the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany against the Iranian team of top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili. The talks are the first such encounter since a meeting in Moscow in June 2012 and Iranian officials have doused expectations by insisting they

will offer no special concessions. “It’s clear that no one expects everyone to walk out of here in Almaty with a done deal. This is a negotiating process,” Ashton’s spokesman Mann said. Iran denies it is developing nuclear weapons and wants the world to respect its “right” to enrich uranium - something current UN sanctions say it cannot do because of its refusal to cooperate with nuclear inspectors. The Iranians went into the talks by issuing a string of comments suggesting they were willing to listen to offers without softening their own position. “We will not accept anything beyond our obligations and will not accept anything less than our rights,” Jalili declared before setting off for Kazakhstan. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Moscow was hoping that the talks would now move into a phase of “bargaining” rather than just offering proposals. “ There needs to be a political will to move into that phase. We call on all participants not to lose any more time,” he said, quoted by Russian news agencies. The talks come with the lingering threat of Israel launching a unilateral strike on Iran just as it had done against the Osirak nuclear reactor in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 1981. Iran already has a nuclear power plant in the southern city of Bushehr - built with Russian help - but Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has described atomic weapons as a “sin”. — AFP

HANNOVERSCH MUENDEN, Germany: A cut down tree hovers over roofs as it is transported away by a helicopter yesterday. Several trees that threatened to fall on railway tracks were cut down and removed by air as the surrounding steep slopes made transport by truck impossible. — AFP

Egypt balloon crash kills 19 Continued from Page 1 US photographer Christopher Michel, who was on board another balloon, told Britain’s Sky News television that the balloon was one of eight flying at the time. “We heard a loud explosion behind us. I looked back and saw lots of smoke. It wasn’t immediately clear that it was a balloon,” he said. The balloon had been floating over the west bank of Luxor, one of Egypt’s most renowned archaeological sites and home to the famous Valley of the Kings and the grand Temple of Hatshepsut, when it exploded. There was confusion over the exact death toll and the tourists nationalities, with different official bodies giving conflicting figures and details. An Egyptian security official said 19 tourists from Hong Kong, Japan, Britain, France and Hungary had died. The health ministry put the toll at 18 dead. Along with the confirmed deaths of two French tourists and two Britons, nine of those killed were thought to be from Hong Kong, and four from Japan. “I can confirm that sadly two of our citizens died in this accident,” said French foreign ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot. “We are in contact with their families.” British tour operator Thomas Cook said three of its clients had also died in the crash. “We can confirm the tragic deaths of two British nationals and one British resident following a hot air balloon crash in Luxor, Egypt earlier today,” said the British Foreign Office. One British tourist was “in a stable condition” after surviving the plunge. Another tourist who died was

understood to be a Hungarian who resided in Britain. “We believe that there is a high possibility that nine of our customers have died,” said Raymond Ng, general manager of travel agency Kuoni, which organised the Hong Kongers’ tour. The five women and four men were aged between 33 and 62, Ng said, adding their relatives were flying to Cairo accompanied by three Kuoni staff. The nine were among a group of 15 Hong Kongers who had left for Egypt on Feb 22. Ng said that, according to local employees, the balloon caught fire about an hour after it had set off, plummeting to the ground two minutes later. In Japan, tour company JTB said four Japanese tourists involved in the accident were all confirmed dead. The foreign ministry said it was still seeking further information. French hot air ballon expert Philippe Buron-Pilatre de Rozier said the blast could have been caused by a leak after a spark caused by a lighter or a cigarette. Another reason could be wear and tear due to poor maintenance or if the pilot is badly positioned, said Buron-Pilatre de Rozier, adding that hot air balloons such as the ones used in Egypt are generally 40 m high and can carry up to 25 passengers. In 2009, 13 foreign tourists were injured when their hot air balloon hit a phone mast and crashed at Luxor. Sources at the time said the balloon was overcrowded. The crash comes amid widespread anger over safety standards in Egypt following several deadly transport and construction accidents. — AFP

OSLO: Myanmar President Thein Sein arrived in Oslo yesterday, kicking off his first trip to Europe aimed at forging stronger ties between the former pariah state and the West. The reformist leader landed at Oslo’s international airport, Norwegian officials said, for a three-day stay in the Scandinavian country to be followed by visits to Finland, Austria, Belgium and Italy before he returns to Myanmar on March 8. The former junta general has impressed the international community with a string of reforms since coming to power in early 2011, including welcoming long-detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi into parliament and freeing hundreds of political prisoners. Thein Sein’s trip to Norway follows Suu Kyi’s own landmark visit to Oslo last year, where she made her long-awaited Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in person for the honour awarded her in 1991, as she spent the better part of two decades under house arrest. “This kind of visit is important in the context of political change in the country because President Thein Sein and the reformers in this current government need encouragement and support from the international community so that the hardliners who oppose transformation can be isolated,” said Khin Maung Win, deputy editor-in-chief of the independent broadcaster Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB). While in Oslo, Thein Sein was due to discuss

issues pertaining to future democratic reforms, development aid, the environment and economic cooperation, though no major agreements were expected to be signed, Norwegian foreign ministry spokesman Kjetil Elsebutangen said. “Many positive things have taken place in Myanmar in recent years but there is still more to be done,” Elsebutangen said. “On the Norwegian side, we think it’s important to support these positive developments and to try to help those who are moving things in the right direction,” he added. Thein Sein, described as a discreet and loyal conservative, is due to hold talks with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide, and meet with members of the Myanmar community in Norway. He may also give his first interview to DVB, in what would be a highly-symbolic move. Long based in Oslo and run by exiles, the broadcaster, which is financed by foreign countries, is in the process of moving its operations to Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, now that that the conditions exist to carry out “independent professional journalism”, Khin Maung Win said. In Yangon, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who was awarded the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in oppposing apartheid in South Africa, said yesterday he hoped to see a “truly free” Myanmar as he met Suu Kyi during a visit to the

former junta-ruled nation. The swift pace of reforms undertaken by Thein Sein has surprised many, including the opposition. “What he has introduced in the country since he came to power two years ago is enormous ... These are things that Burmese people, including myself, would never dream of two years ago,” Khin Maung Win said. The trip to Belgium was meanwhile due to include both bilateral and EU high level meetings in Brussels. The Myanmar leader was to meet with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on March 5 for talks centred on the domestic reform process and socio-economic development of the country, bilateral relations, and regional issues, an EU official said. Another European diplomatic source said other topics to be discussed would include sanctions and development aid, the country’s human rights record and efforts to negotiate peace in ongoing conflicts. After the swift reforms Thein Sein undertook after coming to power, the European Union responded last April by suspending all sanctions apart from an arms embargo, while the United States has also dismantled many of its key trade and investment sanctions. But concerns remain over an ongoing conflict in the nor then state of K achin and communal Buddhist-Muslim unrest in the western state of Rakhine.— AFP

Philippines’ Aquino warns sultan in Malaysia standoff MANILA: Philippine President Benigno Aquino warned a sultan yesterday he would face the “full force of the law” unless he withdrew his gunmen from Malaysia, but the elderly ruler remained defiant. Dozens of followers of the little-known Sultan of Sulu have been facing off with Malaysian security forces for two weeks, after they sailed from their remote southern Philippine island homes to stake a territorial claim. With the incident causing increasing embarrassment to the Philippine government, Aquino made a nationally televised address yesterday to try to pressure the sultan into bringing his gunmen back from Malaysia’s Sabah state. “If you choose not to cooperate, the full force of the laws of the state will be used to achieve justice for all who have been put in harm’s way,” Aquino said. “This is a situation that cannot persist. If you are truly the leader of your people, you should be one with us in ordering your followers to return home peacefully.” Aquino, flanked by his interior and justice secretaries, also warned the sultan that he may have broken laws, including one banning citizens from inciting war that carries a maximum prison term of 12 years. But the 74year-old sultan, Jamalul Kiram III, showed no signs of buckling, calling a press conference from his home in a poor Muslim enclave of Manila to insist the standoff would continue unless his demands were met. “As far as we are concerned we have not committed (a) crime,” Kiram said, adding his followers cornered in a fishing village in Sabah on Borneo island would not initiate any violence with the Malaysian security forces. “But we are prepared to defend our lives and aspirations.” Kiram says he is the head of the Islamic Sultanate of Sulu, which once controlled parts of Borneo including the site of the stand-off, as well as southern Philippine islands. The sultanate leased northern Borneo to Europeans in the 1870s. While the sultanate’s authority gradually faded as Western colonial powers exerted their influence over the region, it continued to receive lease payments for Sabah. The former British colony became part of the federation of Malaysia when it was formed in 1963. Kiram and his family, as heirs to the sultanate, still receive nominal annual compensation from Malaysiathe equivalent of about $1,700 — and they want more money. Kiram said yesterday the gunmen would only lay down their arms if the Philippines and Malaysia agreed to negotiate terms for joint development of Sabah. Pressed on details, Kiram’s adviser Abraham Idjirani told reporters the sultanate should receive as royalties 50 percent of proceeds from Sabah’s economic growthpotentially many millions of dollars. But Kiram also said his followers wanted to remain in Sabah even if a financial deal was struck. “(They want to) peacefully settle in Sabah, which is our homeland,” he said. Aquino said the sultan had 180 followers in Sabah, up to 30 of whom were armed. But Kiram said he had 235 members of the “Royal Armed Forces of Sultan of Sulu and North Borneo” there. Malaysian authorities have sought to ensure tensions do not escalate at the site of the standoff, surrounding the gunmen but keeping their distance. However Aquino cautioned the sultan that he could not expect to test the Malaysian government’s patience indefinitely without repercussions. “The avenue of peaceful and open dialogue is still available to us... we have not yet reached the point of no return, but we are fast approaching that point,” Aquino said. — AFP

YANGON: Archbishop Desmond Tutu (right) pose for photographs with Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi after their meeting at Suu Kyi’s residence yesterday. — AFP

HK begins hearing on maid residency HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s top court yesterday began hearing a challenge to the right of abode law in a long-running case that could pave the way for thousands of foreign maids to claim residency in the city. The Court of Final Appeal hearing, which centres on Filipina maid Evangeline Banao Vallejos, could also reopen the controversial issue of whether children born in Hong Kong to mainland Chinese parents have the right to stay. Vallejos won a High Court ruling in 2011 granting her the right to request permanent residency status, denied to foreign maids until then. The government appealed against that ruling last March, successfully arguing the authorities had discretionary power to decide who was eligible for residency and that restrictions on maids were not unconstitutional and discriminatory. Presenting arguments to the court on behalf of Vallejos and another applicant, lawyer Michael Fordham said: “If... your presence is lawful and your presence is for seven years continuously... you would expect to succeed.” Campaigners for the rights of migrant workers argue that Hong Kong’s 300,000 maids, mostly from the Philippines and Indonesia, should not be treated any differently from other foreigners who flock to the former British colony to find work as lawyers, bankers, accountants and managers. Most of those workers are eligible to apply for permanent residency, granting them additional rights and access to government services once they have lived in the city for at least seven years. “This appeal is about justice and fair application of the law against discrimination and social exclusion,” activist Dolores Ballabares told AFP. Foreign maids earn a minimum wage of HK$3,920 (US$505) a month and receive benefits such as one guaranteed day off a week but rights

groups say they still face discrimination and a lack of legal protection from abusive employers. A maid’s visa is tied to a specific employer, leaving her in a difficult situation if she wants to change jobs, activists say. Many live with their employers for years and send portions of their pay back to relatives at home, providing a huge source of foreign remittances to the Philippine and Indonesian economies. Government officials have warned that making domestic helpers eligible for permanent residency could open the floodgates to hundreds of thousands of residency requests from maids, some of whom have lived in Hong Kong for decades. The case has also highlighted the issue of the city’s judicial independence from Beijing, while potentially reopening the issue of whether the children of mainland Chinese parents can stay in Hong Kong. Some lawmakers have said the case should be referred to Beijing for its reinterpretation of the Basic Law, the mini-constitution which sets out the city’s semi-autonomous status and rights since its return to China in 1997. In 1999 the Court of Final Appeal ruled that children of people who have right of abode also have that right, even if their parents were not permanent residents at the time of their birth. Hong Kong’s government asked Beijing to “reinterpret” the Basic Law after claiming an extra 1.6 million people in China could obtain the right of abode, causing a severe social and economic strain on the densely populated city. Beijing subsequently ruled that children born outside Hong Kong were only eligible for right of abode if at least one parent was already a permanent resident. However, in 2001 the Court of Final Appeal ruled that children born in Hong Kong to mainland parents had right of abode regardless of whether their parents were legal residents. — AFP

Thai PM Yingluck may seek Malaysia’s help on insurgency BANGKOK: Thai authorities and separatist rebels could be inching towards talks after nine years of violence and the loss of more than 5,000 lives in Thailand’s Muslim-dominated southern provinces bordering Malaysia. Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is meeting her Malaysian counterpart, Najib Razak, in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday and may seek his help to make contact with rebel groups. “There are insurgent groups operating within Malaysia and Thailand that want to talk to the Thai government,” Paradorn Pattanathabutr, secretarygeneral of the National Security Council of Thailand (NSC), told Reuters. “We want Malaysia to facilitate these talks.” The NSC brings together government ministers and officials charged with

coordinating security matters with the military. In a 2012 paper it acknowledged a political dimension to the violence and proposed dialogue with the insurgents, but the military, which has a big presence in the south, is lukewarm. “The military has had regular contact with Malaysia. We are not involved with the meeting on Thursday, because this is a government initiative,” Udomchai Thammasarorat, commander of the Fourth Army in southern Thailand, told Reuters. “Our military strategy is clear and we are making good progress towards resolving the conflict,” he said. Independent analysts see little evidence that the military is winning, despite its success in thwarting an attack on a marine base on Feb 13 in

which 16 insurgents were killed, with no loss of life among the marines. The rebels have hit back with a string of attacks. Two bombs on Saturday in Narathiwat province, about 1,150 km (715 miles) south of Bangkok, and a drive-by shooting in neighbouring Pattani injured five people. An explosion in Pattani’s commercial district on Feb. 17 killed two security volunteers. Yingluck has said she would discuss the southern unrest in Malaysia but government officials are not using the term “peace talks” and some senior ministers are opposed to such an idea. Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobumrung ruled out negotiations with the insurgents, saying that “if insurgent groups come to us with conditions, we will not accept them”.— Reuters





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Castro’s successor lacks charisma but is experienced manager


By Marc Frank

hen Cuban President Raul Castro named former engineering professor and long-time Communist Party insider Miguel Diaz-Canel as his first vice president and potential successor on Sunday, he chose managerial skills over flair. Diaz-Canel, 52, is the youngest non-military man to come so close to the pinnacle of power in Cuba since the Castro brothers took power in 1959. He was appointed first vice president on Sunday at a meeting of the National Assembly where Castro also announced he would step down in 2018 at the end of his second five-year term as president. Diaz-Canel would step into the presidency if Raul Castro could not complete his term. He rose through the ruling Communist Party’s ranks including key posts outside the capital and enjoys some name recognition at home, though is far less well known abroad. While he has only two years of routine military service under his belt, Diaz-Canel’s ascent through the provincial ranks has earned him strong ties with the military, connections that other up-and-coming figures who fell by the wayside in past reshuffles have lacked. “This is a major change in Cuba, not just generational,” said Arturo Lopez-Levy, an analyst at the University of Denver who used to work for the Cuban interior ministry on intelligence issues and U.S. relations. “The promotion of Diaz-Canel should be seen as part of an institutional change in the way the Cuban elite is promoted.” Before joining the government in Havana, Diaz-Canel held top Communist Party posts in two important provinces, Villa Clara and Holguin, centers of the booming tourism industry as well as new private-sector activity, both key elements of an economic reform process being pushed by Raul Castro. That experience makes Diaz-Canel well-equiped to help Castro advance those reforms, designed to make the economy more efficient and bring in more foreign currency, without loosening the Communist Party’s political control. “He has ties to the provincial tsars of the party. Those leaders are very important,” said Lopez-Levy. “They don’t appear in the international media, but they are a very strong power in the island. They are kings in their own provinces.” In Cuba, there is no political campaigning, so proven loyalty and strong connections inside the party and the military are more valuable than a media-savvy style. “I am not used to making frequent appearances in public, except at times when it is required,” Raul Castro said in his first public statement after taking over for his ailing brother Fidel in 2006. “Moreover, I have always been discreet, that is my way, and let me clarify that I plan to continue that way.” Discreet would be an understatement in describing DiazCanel’s public persona as he worked his way up through the Communist Party over 30 years, even as other young cadres rose and fell. Like Raul Castro, he is considered a methodical speaker and lacks the charisma of Fidel Castro. Diaz-Canel has so far not made any public comments since his appointment on Sunday. He was brought to Havana in 2009 to become minister of higher education and then a vice president of the Council of Ministers. He arrived soon after a number of high-flying Fidel Castro proteges who lacked Diaz-Canel’s party-level managerial experience, most notably former secretary of the Council of Ministers Carlos Lage and Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque, were fired by Raul Castro. A Communist Party source said Diaz-Canel was viewed within the ranks as “sincere, incorruptible, a staunch communist, a nationalist loyal to the Castros’ revolutionary vision.” Despite being known as an effective manager, he also has a reputation for negotiating the fine line between Raul Castro’s reform agenda and the sometimes more dogmatic doctrine of provincial party members resistant to change. “Diaz-Canel, while a loyalist of the old style, is young, reformist when reform is called for, a known entity without ever being singled out or even thought of as a threat to Fidel or Raul,” said Hal Klepak, professor of history and strategy at the Royal Military College of Canada. Klepak, who wrote a book on the Cuban military under Raul Castro, pointed out the president is well known for picking the best man for a job. “He is just the sort of man that Raul, looking for continuity and institutionalization of the revolution, can count on, but anxious like Raul to modernize that government.” Fidel Castro, who removed himself from power in 2008 due to ill health, made a rare appearance at the National Assembly meeting on Sunday where Diaz-Canel’s appointment was made, appearing to add his seal of approval to the choice. Diaz-Canel appears in fine shape for his age, with a full head of salt and pepper hair, which he used to wear long, with a chiseled face, square chin and muscular frame. Lopez-Levy recalled meeting him in the 1990s, describing him as “an articulate, flexible guy,” with a reputation for being tolerant of homosexuals at a time when the Communist Party was still mistrustful of the gay community. John McAuliff, director of the New York-based Fund for Reconciliation and Development who specializes in university level exchanges with Cuba, also met Diaz-Canel at an education conference last year and described him as intelligent and engaging. —Reuters

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Nigeria losing ground in changing oil world By Joe Brock


igeria will earn less for its oil and struggle to replace reserves unless it can end years of industry stagnation, at a time its biggest customer is becoming self-sufficient and African rivals are boosting supplies. A domestic energy boom in the United States has already sharply cut demand for Nigerian oil, while legal uncertainty, political wrangling, corruption and insecurity plague an oil industry which is still Africa’s biggest. In addition, rivals on the continent - both East and West - are fast catching up, and hungry for returns to boost their smaller economies they are tempting foreign oil and gas companies with better terms and fewer bottlenecks than Nigeria. “Nigeria has multiple problems in its oil game - it has failed to meet reserve growth and production targets for many years ... while competition grows worldwide,” said Duncan Clarke, Head of African oil experts Global Pacific & Partners. “High crude prices have shielded Nigeria of late - but this may not last forever, and its reputation as the proverbial Land-of-No-Tomorrow continues.” With oil accounting for around 80 percent of government revenue and 95 percent of foreign exchange reserves, Africa’s second largest economy is vulnerable to any negative shifts in oil and gas prices and demand.

The U.S. accounted for 35 percent of oil exports from Nigeria in 2011. But it imported around 40 percent less last year, taking purchases from Nigeria to their lowest in over 20 years, according to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), a U.S. government agency. This drop in demand has already resulted in Nigerian barrels selling for around 40 cents lower than its official selling price and left dozens of cargoes unsold and rolled over to future months, according to research by Africa’s Ecobank. “Nigeria must make increased efforts to capture more of the rapidly growing Asian market,” said Kayode Akindele, partner at Lagos-based financial adviser 46 Parallels. “A big issue is that the growing East African oil and gas industry will prove to be a serious competitor, especially given its proximity to key Asian markets compared to Nigeria.” There have been around 70 discoveries in sub-Saharan Africa in the last five years with the majority coming in East African countries like Tanzania, Uganda and Mozambique. Around 250 trillion cubic feet of natural gas may lie off those three countries alone, the US Geological Survey estimates. Several East African LNG plants are expected to come online in the next 5 years, while Nigeria with similar gas reserves has stalled a new LNG project for the last 8 years, seeing oil major partners Chevron and Conoco give up stakes. Shell

has sold onshore oil blocks in Nigeria but is seeking to expand elsewhere in Africa. West African neighbour Ghana recently became an oil producer. “There is a finite amount of money to be invested by oil and gas majors in the short to medium term, and Nigeria needs a slice of that cake,” Mutiu Sunmonu, Shell’s Nigeria country head, told an investor conference last week. “The competitive landscape has changed ... Nigeria cannot afford to miss the boat.” Oil Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke looked to ease concerns last week when she told bankers and oil firms that Nigeria was entering “a new dawn to boost investment and production.” Alison-Madueke said Nigeria would fix its ailing refineries, expand oil and gas output, tackle insecurity in the Niger Delta and ensure the passage of a landmark energy law, which would make it competitive with rival producers. The minister made similar promises when she took office in 2010 but many targets have been missed. Nigeria loses $6 billion annually to crude theft, offshore piracy is on the rise and oil majors say it’s operating costs are among the most expensive globally. Energy consultants Wood Mackenzie forecast Nigeria’s oil production could drop by 20 percent by 2020 because years of delay to a Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) have blocked tens of billions of dollars in exploration investment. Oil majors say they can’t

invest in major new projects until the PIB is passed and if it is passed as it stands with higher taxes, then new investment will be deterred. The Chinese have some interest in Nigeria through Addax, owned by Sinopec, which has said it wants to buy more onshore fields. Two Nigerian oil firms last week said they did not think the PIB will ever become law because of vested interests blocking progress and an insurmountable gulf between oil firms, lawmakers and the oil ministry over terms. Nigeria state oil firm NNPC is at the centre of the country’s energy business but is blighted by under-funding and corruption, according to several government probes. But around half of subSaharan oil output still comes from Nigeria and oil firms say it could comfortably double crude production and unlock the world’s ninth-largest gas reserves if AlisonMadueke comes good on her promises. Changing global oil dynamics still offer an opportunity. “Declining U.S. demand provides yet another incentive for the Nigerian government to conduct the reforms needed to reduce the losses, leakages and general dysfunction,” said Roddy Barclay, West African analyst at Control Risks. “(If not taken) investor appetite will remain muted by the array of complex political, operational and security risks that will continue to characterise Nigeria’s oil sector.” —Reuters

Pope accelerated Latam church’s right turn By Luis Jaime Cisneros


enedict XVI’s legacy in Latin America, the world’s most Catholic region, is marked by a victory of conservative theology and the demise of homegrown leftist religious thought, experts here say. During his eight-year papacy Benedict continued the church’s march to the right that began under his predecessor, the charismatic Pope John Paul II (1978-2005). The rightward shift was to be expected: for 24 years until becoming pope, Benedict was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the conservative head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, the office that succeeded the Holy Inquisition. Critics called him “God’s Rottweiler.” “Ratzinger was the theoretician behind that turn to the right, providing the intellectual support that (John Paul II) lacked,” said Luis Pasara, a Catholicism expert at Spain’s Universidad de Salamanca. As pope, Benedict traveled to Latin America - home to 46 percent of the world’s Catholics - only twice, going to Brazil in 2007 and to Mexico and Cuba in 2012. Benedict was a “transitional pope” who “did not want to generate conflict in the church in the Americas,” said Jeffrey Klaiber, a religion professor at Lima’s Universidad Catolica. Benedict followed the conservative guidelines set by John Paul II but “was less aggressive because ... liberation theology had already faded as an intellectual movement,” Klaiber said. Liberation theology, which blends church doctrine with a focus on activism and social justice, originated in Latin America in the 1960s and took its name from a 1971

book by Peruvian theologian Gustavo Gutierrez. Proponents say they were inspired by the 1962 Second Vatican Council under Pope John XXIII, which modernized church practices and emphasized helping the poor. Leonardo Boff and Helder Camara from Brazil, the slain Oscar Romero of El Salvador and Nicaragua’s Ernesto Cardenal are some of the best known liberation theology figures. More radical priests included Camilo Torres Restrepo, who abandoned the clergy to fight with Colombia’s National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas. Critics like Ratzinger claimed that liberation theology was heavily influenced by Marxism, and the church leadership came down hard on its proponents. Boff, for example, was officially sanctioned in 1985, and avoided a second sanction in 1992 by leaving the priesthood. During his 2007 visit to Brazil, Benedict “identified himself with the basic aspirations of liberation theology, to critique an unjust economic system and to place the church on the side of the poor,” said John Allen, Vatican specialist for the USbased National Catholic Reporter. “But he also insisted on the primacy of faith as opposed to merely sociological analysis,” Allen said. Benedict’s successor will have to deal with the explosive growth of Pentecostal and evangelical churches in Latin America. “The Pentecostal churches attract lots of followers because of the way they conduct their services, and not by their doctrine,” Klaiber said. “In Latin America, people don’t leave the church because it’s too conservative, but rather because the sermons the priests deliver are boring. It’s a mixture of an uninspired clergy lacking charisma and sermons with outdated themes,” he said. In retrospect, Benedict “was not really a dogmatic man, but rather a man who was disconnected from the real world,” Klaiber said. Benedict did not understand the gravity of the the pedophilia scandal that shook the church worldwide, even though he had the courage to personally apologize to many of the victims, Klaiber said. In Latin America, Benedict’s legacy can be measured in terms of the people he named bishops, which Klaiber described as being all “conservative or ultraconservative.” —AFP



Maradona asks for ‘justice’ on Italy trip

Bolt to run at Paris Diamond League

Celtic captain Brown to miss Juventus game

NAPLES: Football legend Diego Maradona yesterday asked for “justice” in his dispute with Italian tax authorities on an emotional trip to Naples-the scene of some of his greatest career successes. “I haven’t killed anyone, I’ve just come to ask for justice,” Maradona said at a press conference, saying he had been a “victim” of swindlers and revealing that he wanted to meet Italian President Giorgio Napolitano to discuss his tax difficulties. “I can explain everything to him,” the former attacking midfielder said. World Cup winner Maradona, who helped Napoli to their only Italian championship wins in 1987 and 1990, was convicted of tax evasion in 2005 and ordered to pay 37.2 million euros including 23.5 million euros in interest on late tax payments. An Italian court in November last year admitted there had been a procedural error in the investigation and ordered a new inquiry. Maradona arrived in Italy on Monday from Dubai, where he is an ambadassor for sport, and watched a Serie A match between his former club and Udinese, which ended 0-0, in his hotel . — AFP

PARIS: Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt has been signed up to run the 200m at the Diamond League meeting in Paris in July, organisers said yesterday. “With Bolt, we know that we will easily fill the Stade de France.” said the head of the meeting, Laurent Boquillet, adding that organisers had shelled out $300,000 (229,000 euros) to bring the Jamaican track king to the French capital on July 6. Bolt, 26, won 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay gold at last year’s Olympics in London, repeating the feat that he first achieved in Beijing four years earlier and cementing his reputation as the greatest sprinter of all time. Boquillet said the fee was standard for a runner of Bolt’s calibre, pointing out that before his Olympic triple feat last year, he was available for $250,000 per meeting. The Paris Diamond league meeting is the ninth on the main athletics circuit. — AFP

LONDON: Celtic captain Scott Brown will miss the Champions League last 16 second leg against Juventus and Scotland’s double header against Wales and Serbia, his manager Neil Lennon said yesterday. Brown has a thigh injury and will be joined on the sidelines for the match in Turin next Wednesday by defender Mikael Lustig who has bone bruising. Celtic’s hopes of reaching the quarter-finals are hanging by the slimmest of threads after they lost the first leg 3-0 in a physical encounter in Glasgow two weeks ago. “We’re still waiting to hear about Brown but he will miss Juventus and the Scotland double header,” Lennon told reporters. “We are still waiting to hear from the specialist, whether he requires surgery or not and I am hoping that we will get a definitive answer by the end of the week... “Lustig is out for two to three weeks, it is bone bruising so it could even be longer. “So I imagine he will miss Juventus. “Kris (Commons) is back from his virus and Lassad (Nouioui) has had a bit of a virus but he is in the squad.” Scotland, who are bottom their 2014 World Cup qualifying group, play back-to-back Group A matches on March 22 and 26. — Reuters

Baseball making headlines in Brazil ahead of WBC SAO PAULO: With Brazil about to make its first appearance in the World Baseball Classic, the sport which is barely known in the land of football is starting to attract some rare attention. Little by little, Brazilians are realizing that baseball is actually played in the country and that there is a national team good enough to compete among some of the most traditional powers in the sport. At the WBC, Brazil will have the experience of Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin as its manager, but it won’t have top player Yan Gomes - the country’s first major leaguer - after he decided to stay with the Cleveland Indians to try to make its roster this season. Seattle Mariners prospect Luiz Gohara, who’s 16 and already one of the country’s top pitchers, also won’t play. Brazil will debut in the WBC on Saturday against the defending champion Japanese - in Japan - and as the pace of the team’s preparations picks up, so does baseball’s exposure in the Brazilian media. Although coverage remains minor compared to football and other sports, some of the country’s main television stations have aired rare specials about baseball recently, producing pieces on the Brazilian team and many of its players. There have been some tutorials about the sport’s rules and traditions too, and newspapers and some of the nation’s top web portals have been reserving some valuable space for the Brazilian squad. The attention is significant as the vast majority of Brazilians have very little connection to the sport, which is played mostly by members of the nation’s Japanese community in the country. There are only about 20,000 baseball players in Brazil, and the local confederation was founded just over two decades ago, in 1990. “ The community of baseball fans in Brazil is still limited but it can develop and it can grow,” Larkin told the Terra web site in one of his many interviews to Brazilian media recently. “It doesn’t happen overnight. I know that traditionally this is the country of soccer, but Brazil is also strong in other sports, such as volley, so the hope is that we can recruit athletes to play our sport in the future.” Larkin’s arrival has been key for the sports’ increased exposure in Brazil. The former Cincinnati Reds shortstop was hired last year after the Brazilian Baseball and Softball Confederation reached a partnership deal with Major League Baseball. He took over just before the team’s participation in a qualifying round for the WBC and

eventually led the team to its first ever spot in the main tournament. Larkin had been in Brazil before to instruct young South America players for MLB’s “Elite Camp.” His connection to the country goes beyond the sport, too, as his daughter, a singer who per forms as CymcoLe, last year recorded a single which became one of the themes of a top soap opera in the Latin American nation. Despite having virtually no international experience, Brazil’s won its qualifying group unbeaten and clinched its spot in the WBC with a surprising 1-0 victory over Panama. The win came thanks to an RBI by Gomes, who will be heavily missed by Larkin after his decision to stay with the Indians. The catcher, who can also play first and third bases, is the first Brazilian-born person to play in a major league game. He made his debut in May last year while playing for the Toronto Blue Jays. The 25-year-old Gomes said it was a tough to leave the Brazilian team after helping it qualify for the WBC, but felt that his teammates understood his decision. “I got a hold of a lot of the players on the team and they seemed to be very supportive about it. They really understood what I was going through,” he told The 16-year-old Gohara, a hard-throwing left-hander who signed with the Mariners late last year, also will skip the WBC to try to show his potential to his new team this season. Brazil’s initial WBC roster had 11 players linked to MLB teams, including top prospects such as pitcher Andre Rienzo of the Chicago White Sox, outfielder Paulo Orlando of the Kansas City Royals, infielder Lucas Rojo of the Philadelphia Phillies and pitcher Thyago Vieira of the Mariners. Many of the other players are with teams in Japan, and the squad also has the experience of 40-year-old Cuban pitcher Ernesto Noris. Brazil, which is already in Japan getting ready for the tournament, is ranked 20th by the International Baseball Federation. It will also face Cuba and China in Pool A. The first round will feature a round-robin format with the top two teams in each of the four groups advancing. “Brazil has a promising future with a team which is young and very strong,” Jorge Otsuka, president of the Brazilian Baseball and Softball Confederation, told The Associated Press. “Our goal is to continue promoting the sport to help make it more and more popular in the country.” —AP

PORT ST LUCIE: Matt Skole #26 of the Washington Nationals bats against the New York Mets at Tradition Field on Monday in Port St. Lucie, Florida. — AFP

Tulowitzki hits 2-run single as Rockies beat Rangers SCOTTSDALE: Walt Weiss and the Colorado Rockies like what they see from Troy Tulowitzki so far in spring training games. Tulowitzki, limited to 47 games last season after left groin surgery, had a two-run single and was involved in four flawless defensive plays during his three innings in the Rockies’ 9-1 win over Texas on Monday. Along with a rare double play on which the two-time Gold Glove shortstop got an assist and a putout, there was a nifty play when he ran forward to pick up a slow roller and threw out speedy Rangers center fielder Craig Gentry at first base. “Every time he passes one of these tests, it’s a peace of mind for us,” said Weiss, the former Rockies infielder and their new manager. “He’s in a really good place right now.” Colorado starter Chris Volstad, who signed as a minor league free agent during the offseason, benefited from two of the Rockies’ three double plays. He faced the minimum six batters in his two innings despite giving up a pair of singles.

Martin Perez started for Texas and retired all six batters he faced, with two strikeouts. “Fell behind but made pitches when he had to,” manager Ron Washington said. “Two clean innings, attacked the zone, down in the bottom of the zone.” Then Justin Grimm, like Perez among several candidates for the No. 5 spot in the Rangers’ rotation, allowed hits to four of the first six batters he faced after taking over in the third. That included an RBI single by DJ LeMahieu and the runs-scoring hit by Tulowitzki that made it 3-0. Tuluowitzki took a called third strike in the first against Perez after fouling off some tough pitches. Tulowitzki is 2 for 4 with three RBIs in two spring games. He had an RBI groundout and a hit in his first game Saturday, and for now likely will play every other day. He didn’t play after May last season. “We’ll adjust on the fly depending on how he feels, how many at-bats he thinks he needs,” Weiss said. Charlie Culberson hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning for Colorado, and

Nolan Arenado added a solo shot two batters later. Both homers came off right-hander Neil Ramirez, who gave up five runs in a span of eight batters. NOTES: Yu Darvish is scheduled to make his first spring start for Texas on Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox. ... The Rangers are 0-3-1 this spring. ... Texas batters went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position. They are 1 for 26 in such situations the last three games. ... Eric Young Jr. led off and played left field for Colorado. He has already played second base this spring, and Weiss expected to give him a chance to play several different positions. The Rockies leave Salt River Fields for the first time this spring to play the Chicago Cubs in Mesa today. ... After his RBI single in the third, LeMahieu was eventually thrown out after getting caught in a wild rundown between third base and home. Grimm fielded a comebacker, threw to 3BYangervis Solarte, before C Geovany Soto got the ball, threw to SS Elvis Andrus and then got it back to tag out LeMahieu near third base. — AP

Wright pitches scoreless inning in Rays debut

BRADENTON: Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Ivan De Jesus waits to hit in the batting cage before a baseball spring training exhibition game against the Baltimore Orioles, yesterday, in Bradenton, Florida. — AP

PORT CHARLOTTE: Jamey Wright’s bid to make the Tampa Bay Rays his 10th major league team began with a perfect inning that hardly felt like one to the 38-yearold right-hander. The veteran of 17 seasons is well versed in spring training routine and said Monday that he doesn’t remembering ever feeling comfortable on the mound in his first outing. Nevertheless, Wright retired the only batters he faced during a 6-3 victory over a Boston split squad. He struck out Dustin Pedroia and Shane Victorino, then escaped without allowing a hit when third baseman Ryan Roberts made a diving stop on Jonny Gomes’ hard grounder and scrambled to his feet to throw to first to end the third inning. “It’s the first time out. It feels like you’re throwing left-handed for some reason,” Wright said. “It’s awful.” Still, it was difficult to argue

with the results. Wright, who has an inside track on landing a job in the bullpen, threw seven pitches - all for strikes. “That’s what you hope for. You hope you get out of there unscathed, and that’s what I did. I was lucky. Felt strong for February,” said Wright, who’s played for nine different teams - two of them twice - during his career. He appeared in 66 games in relief for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, going 5-3 with a 3.72 ERA. “I can’t recall a time when I was just like: ‘Man, start the season right now.’ I think it’s more the adrenalin thing than anything,” Wright said, reflecting on previous springs. “Running out from the bullpen that first time, or a starter running out from the dugout the first time and getting it going, trying to remember your whole pregame routine from the year before. But that’s why you have spring training.” Pedroia homered in the first

inning off right-hander Alex Cobb and newly acquired Mike Carp had a RBI double off the Tampa Bay starter in his debut for the Red Sox. Alfredo Aceves started and worked two innings for Boston, allowing a two-run double to Yunel Escobar. He was the Red Sox primary closer in 2012 and expects to get one more outing this spring before leaving camp to represent Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. “I’m feeling pretty strong,” Aceves said after throwing 29 pitches. “I missed a couple of pitches and walked two, but I felt good out there.” Carp was obtained in a trade from Seattle last week. He doubled off Cobb to drive in a run in the second inning, then took a third called strike against Cesar Ramos in the fifth. The first baseman/outfielder was injured trying make a diving catch for the Mariners on opening night last season and wound up appearing in just 59 games while

batting .213 with five homers and 20 RBI. He’s excited to have an opportunity to rebound with the Red Sox. “I’m ready to go,” said Carp, who turns 27 in June. “It’s a fresh start, a new beginning.” Wright is just as enthusiastic about being in camp with the Rays, who’ve made the playoffs in three of the past five seasons. Despite being in the majors for nearly two decades, the 1993 first-round draft pick of the Colorado Rockies has never played on a team that advanced to the postseason. The last two major leaguers to play at least 17 years without appearing in the playoffs were Damion Easley (1992-2008) and Danny Darwin (1978-98). The Rays signed Wright to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. “I thought Jamie was really sharp,” manager Joe Maddon said. “I felt healthy,” Wright added. “My arm feels great for a young guy, so it’s good.” — AP



Ferrari doubt they will be fastest in Australia LONDON: Ferrari are unlikely to have the fastest car when the Formula One season starts in Australia next month but they hope to be close enough for Fernando Alonso to make the difference, according to team principal Stefano Domenicali. “The situation at the moment seems to be alright, alright with the programme that we have,” the Italian told Reuters at a Motor Sport magazine Hall of Fame event in London late on Monday.

“The target is to be close together with the leading cars...I would be very surprised if it was the quickest (car) at the first race. But if we are all close together in a couple of tenths, then the season is really long and everything is possible.” Ferrari started last season with a car that was tricky to drive and some way off the pace but Alonso kept them in the hunt with some remarkable drives while the team pulled out all the stops to narrow the performance gap.

By mid-season, the Spaniard had a comfortable lead in the championship that was then eroded in the latter half by a resurgent Sebastian Vettel who reeled off a string of wins for Red Bull. The end result was Vettel’s third successive title but the German and Alonso were still fighting for it all the way to the final race in Brazil. Domenicali said the situation was very different from February last year, when Brazilian Felipe Massa first tested the F2012 and rang Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo

to tell him the bad news. “It’s another world,” said Domenicali. “It’s a totally different situation but we cannot underestimate that everyone is doing a good job, and as far as we can see from the tests I don’t see a lot of changes in respect of what we saw at the end (of last year).” Eight drivers from four teams - Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and Lotus - have been fastest over the eight days of testing so far although the Red Bull drivers have also sounded happy with their car’s

per formance. Domenicali said the biggest challenge all teams faced in the first few races would be the new-version Pirelli tyres, designed to degrade quicker and create more pitstops. “We need to make sure that we are close to the best car and then the team and drivers have to make the difference,” he added. “In Australia it is not the end of the championship, it’s just the start. We need to be careful and stay cool.” The season star ts in Melbourne on March 17. — Reuters

Bradley, Clark the face of the debate MARANA: Bruce Lietzke would have noticed a banana inside the cover of his long putter. One of the famous stories about Lietzke, a 13-time winner on the PGA Tour, is that he never touched a club when he wasn’t on tour. His caddie didn’t believe him, so at the end of the 1984 season, he put a banana inside the head cover of Lietzke’s driver before zipping up the travel bag. Some 15 weeks later at the Bob Hope Classic, the caddie excitedly unzipped the travel bag. The stench should have been the first clue. “Sure enough, he pulled off that head cover and the banana ... it was not yellow,” Lietzke said Monday. “It was black, nasty, fungus. He said he’d never doubt me again.” Lietzke confessed to breaking his own rules when it came to the broom-handled putter that he picked up at the Phoenix Open in 1991 and used the rest of his career. Even in his down time, he would tinker with the length of the putter and practice with it. And he wonders what the conversation would have been like today if that 1991 PGA Championship had turned out differently. Lietzke was the runner-up at Crooked Stick behind a big-hitting rookie named John Daly. Imagine if Lietzke had won that major. Would the USGA have banned the putter he anchored against his chest? “I think so,” Lietzke said. “Judging by their reaction to major successes, I guess they were just waiting for this to happen. The USGA should have made a statement then. If I had won the PGA Championship, they might have tried to outlaw it. And if you look back on it, most people would have gone along with it.” That was one of the arguments PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem put forth Sunday when he said the tour was against the proposed rule that would ban the anchored stroke primarily used for long putters and belly putters. Without any empirical evidence that an anchored stroke is easier, why ban it? And after all these years, why now? The faces in this discussion - and that’s all it is right now - are Keegan Bradley and Tim Clark, for vastly different reasons. It was Bradley ’s win at the PGA Championship that prompted serious talk about the future of anchored strokes. Bradley now is lumped in with three of the last five major champions using a belly putter, but he was the catalyst. European Tour chief executive George O’Grady said the conversations between golf ’s administrators and the governing bodies about the future of the long putters began last year at the Masters. That was before Webb Simpson won the U.S. Open and Ernie Els won the British Open, which ramped up the attention. As for Clark? It was his dignified speech at Torrey Pines that led even the staunch opponents of long putters to look at them differently. More than one person in the room that night has described his presentation as a game-changer. That much was reflected in the overwhelming support from the Player Advisory Council and play-

er-directors on the tour’s policy board that the PGA Tour should oppose the USGA on this rule. The tricky part is figuring out where this will lead. The PGA Tour sent the USGA a letter last week spelling out its opposition to Rule 14-1(b), and the PGA of America and its 27,000 club pros are also against the ban. One reason Finchem decided to speak about the letter - a small distraction during the final of the Match Play Championship was his concern that the discussion was being portray as a showdown. Right now, it’s a matter of opinion. If it becomes a showdown, high noon is not until the USGA and R&A decide whether to go ahead with the rule. And that decision won’t come until the spring. It’s a polarizing topic. If not, the governing bodies would not have offered a 90-day comment period that ends tomorrow. They simply would have announced a new rule and been done with it. For now, the tour has not said it will go against the USGA. It has only said it disagrees with the USGA. Finchem chose not to show his hand when he brushed off questions about whether the tour would ever allow an anchored stroke even if the governing bodies adopt a rule that bans it starting in 2016. But he has made clear on at least three occasions that while slightly different rules could work for the PGA Tour, this rule would not be one of them. This is not where golf needs to go. The buzz word coming out of the USGA annual meeting earlier this month was not “bifurcation” but “unification.” Go anywhere in the world and golf effectively is played by the same set of rules. This is something that should never change. The USGA and R&A know they don’t have evidence to show that using an anchored stroke is easier. Frankly, they don’t need any evidence. This is not about equipment, rather a new rule that attempts to define the golf stroke as the club swinging freely. The mistake by the USGA was waiting until someone won a major before acting or believing that winning a major should even make a difference. The majors are the biggest events to win. They define careers. But if the belly putter was an issue when Simpson won the U.S. Open, why wasn’t it an issue when he won the Deutsche Bank Championship? Did the putter work differently at Olympic? Lietzke can think of several occasions when nerves made him miss with his long putter. And if the belly putter is the cure, don’t just look at Ernie Els kissing that claret jug last summer at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. Look at those two putts Els badly missed on the last few holes of the Match Play Championship to lose in the opening round. If the USGA decides that a ban on anchored strokes is best for the game, the PGA Tour should go along with it. And if the USGA was serious about that 90-day comment period, the hope is that it was serious about listening. Why? And why now? — AP

SINGAPORE: (L-R) US player Paula Creamer and compatriot Angela Stanford, Taiwan’s Yani Tseng and Norway’s Suzann Pettersen pose with the trophy at the Marina Bay ahead of the HSBC women’s Champions in Singapore yesterday. The $1.4 million tournament will be hosted at champioship Serapong Course of the Sentosa Golf Club from February 28 to March 3 in Singapore. — AFP

Group picture of winners

Future Stars lift KC Under-15 cricket cup Spectacular batting display by Waseef KUWAIT: Living up to its reputation of being a gritty team with lot of will power and guided by a captain’s knock of 60 runs by Mohammed Waseef enabled Future Stars Cricket Academy to carve a nail biting 5 wicket victory over Cricket Coaching Club (CCC) to win Kuwait Cricket’s U-15 school cricket tournament organized by Kuwait Cricket at their Sulaibiya ground. Kuwait Cricket, the apex body to administer and control cricket in Kuwait and overseas, in its bid to develop grass root level cricket in Kuwait has been organizing school cricket tournaments under the auspicious of Asian Cricket Council (ACC) and the immense popularity of the game has been quite encouraging by the participation of more than 150 school boy cricketers. Winning the toss & batting first, CCC had an early set back as their opener Sharath was bowled by Bilal, the Future Star off spinner. This brought Allen Thomas the stylish right handed batsman to the crease along with CCC’s Captain Vineeth. Both the batsmen mixing caution with aggression settled well to play positive cricket and exhibited solid footwork to take some sharp singles which kept the scoreboard ticking. The tall & lanky Vineeth sighting the ball well cracked the cheery with immense power and played some beautifully timed cover drives while Allen Thomas restoring his form in the final played to his potential in building a partnership worth 59 runs for the second wicket. As the partnership was to possess danger in the Future Star camp, Safwan foxed Vineeth to be caught at short covers for a well made 28 runs. Aamer the tall middle order batsman for CCC who had earlier been the backbone of CCC’s many victories joined Allen Thomas and steadied the innings with some timely hit boundaries. Using the long handle effectively and reaching to the pitch of the delivery, Aamer hit 6 boundaries to be the top scorer for CCC with a handsomely struck 45 runs. Both the batsmen while accelerating the innings fell to the spin bowling of Bader in succession. Allen Thomas scored 35 runs with 2 hits to the fence. Bader was the most successful bowler for Future Star claiming 3 wickets for 23 runs while Safwan bowled economically well taking 1 for 18 runs in 4 overs. CCC lads scored 148 runs for the loss of 6

wickets in 20 overs. Future Stars encountered a terrible start as hard hitting opening batsmen Safwan & Bilal were both back in the pavilion with 15 runs on board as CCC bowlers took control of the game with some fine bowling performance. Unsettled by the fall of two wickets in succession, the strongly built Mohit Philip stood firm like a rock to take the battle to CCC camp as he stepped out to clout the spinners and rode to peak form by hitting a timely 42 runs with 4 boundaries. Equipped with sound technique and nimble footwork, Waseef started slowly & gradually blossomed to perfection as he flicked and cover drove handsomely to notch his third fifty of the tournament. The pair determined to stay long posted a match winning 98 runs partnership for the third wicket. CCC skipper implemented quick bowling changes to dislodge the well settled Waseef & Mohit and used as many as 7 bowlers but the duo stood firm to the crease. Needing just 28 runs in 4 overs, Future Star lost Mohit & then the well settled Waseef as CCC bowlers once again smelling success came back to the game. Waseef ’s knock of 60 runs contained 6 well timed boundaries. CCC got rid of Mustaq the hard hitting batsman and the match turned to anybody’s game. Requiring 5 runs in the last over, and the entire spectators gasping for breath, Future Star rode to victory with 4 wides being bowled in the last over costing CCC heavily to lose the match. Mohammed Waseef was declared Player of the Final for his spectacular batting display. The final was witnessed by a large gathering of school boy cricketers, parents & cricket lovers and the concluding ceremony was graced with the presence of Madhuban Prasad Paudel, the Ambassador of Nepal in Kuwait who along with Asad Baig, DG, Kuwait Cricket presented the Winner Trophy & Runner Up trophy to Future Star & CCC skippers respectively. Individual prizes for both the teams were presented by Mohammad Riaz Choudhar y, Director, Kuwait Umpires Panel & Arjuna Amaratunga, General Manager, Website & Statistics, Kuwait Cricket. Kuwait Cricket also honored Iqbal Rajpurkar for his untiring & dedicated service to Kuwait Cricket. The match was officiated by Jerald & Fareed Dalwai from KCUP.

Rajporkar presenting Player of the Final award.

Waseef receiving Winner’s Trophy from Ambassador of Nepal.

CCC captain receiving Runners-up Trophy.

Rivals still chasing Honda in second test

Alvaro Bautista

SEPANG: Spain’s Dani Pedrosa maintained his dominance of pre-season MotoGP testing yesterday as rivals said their machines lagged behind his Honda at Malaysia’s Sepang circuit. The first day of tests saw Pedrosa clock 2 minutes 01.580 seconds, meaning the threetime MotoGP runner-up has led the pack in pre -season testing after topping the timesheet across the opening session three weeks ago. Both his rivals on Yamahas, current champi-

on Jorge Lorenzo and nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi, said their team needed to work on acceleration after seeing Pedrosa’s Honda pull away. “I stayed behind him (Pedrosa) for two or three corners and in acceleration, the Honda is very fast,” said Rossi, who was 0.448 seconds off the pace in fifth. Lorenzo finished second, sandwiched between his two countrymen on the Hondas, 0.235 seconds behind Pedrosa but 0.127 seconds ahead of rookie Marc

Marquez. The Ducatis of Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden stood at eighth and ninth respectively, over a second off the pace. Both riders noted problems with turning, and Dovizioso said after trailing Pedrosa for two laps that this was his “main problem”. “When you go in, it doesn’t continue, it wants to go straight,” the Italian said. American Hayden added that he faced harshness over bumps but expressed hope that by the first race in Qatar on April 7, “we are not a second, two

seconds off.” However, Pedrosa was guarded despite setting the pace on all the four days of pre-season testing so far, saying “we still have some way to go”. “We have some things more or less clear for the season, but we’re still deciding yes or no for the hardware. When it’s all set, then I can feel more where I am,” said the 27-year-old, who is gunning for his first MotoGP title. A hot and sunny Sepang circuit gave way to rain in the afternoon but most of the riders opted against wet laps. — AFP



Blackhawks’ streak at 19 after OT win over Oilers

NHL results/standings Toronto 4, Philadelphia 2; Ottawa 2, Montreal 1 (SO); Nashville 5, Dallas 4 (OT); Chicago 3, Edmonton 2 (OT); Los Angeles 5, Anaheim 2. Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OTL GF GA Pittsburgh 13 6 0 65 48 New Jersey 10 5 4 48 49 Philadelphia 9 11 1 60 66 NY Rangers 8 7 2 41 44 NY Islanders 8 10 1 56 64

PTS 26 24 19 18 17

Northeast Division Montreal 12 4 3 53 Ottawa 12 6 2 48 Boston 11 2 2 45 Toronto 12 8 0 57 Buffalo 6 12 1 48

41 37 34 46 63

27 26 24 24 13

Southeast Division Carolina 9 7 1 50 Tampa Bay 9 8 1 69 Winnipeg 8 9 1 48 Florida 5 9 4 42 Washington 6 10 1 48

51 58 57 65 55

19 19 17 14 13

Western Conference Central Division Chicago 16 0 3 61 37 Nashville 9 6 5 44 47 St. Louis 10 6 2 55 52 Detroit 9 7 3 57 54 Columbus 5 12 2 40 56

35 23 22 21 12

Northwest Division Vancouver 10 4 4 52 48 Minnesota 8 7 2 37 42 Edmonton 7 7 4 42 49 Calgary 7 7 3 48 59 Colorado 7 8 2 42 51

24 18 18 17 16

Pacific Division Anaheim 13 3 1 59 47 27 Los Angeles 9 6 2 45 41 20 Dallas 9 8 2 51 53 20 San Jose 8 6 3 41 39 19 Phoenix 8 7 3 50 49 19 Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L)

DUBAI: Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko returns the ball to Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic during their ATP Dubai Open tennis match in the Gulf emirate yesterday.— AFP

Davydenko upset makes possible a fine farewell DUBAI: Nikolay Davydenko, who hopes to return to the top 20 as part of his farewell year, brought comedy as well as an upset to the seedings as he reached the second round of the Dubai Open here yesterday. The former world number three from Russia beat Janko Tipsarevic, the sixthseeded Serbian, 6-0, 7-5 but it took him half an hour to take the first two games, and fully 50 minutes to win the love set. It was in many ways a bizarre match, matched to some extent by the amusingly crazy comments which Davydenko afterwards proffered. “After two games I was thinking ‘match just starting - and I’m already tired’, he said, creating a haggard expression. Davydenko also had a comic explanation for the sharp twist in the second set of a match which, having dominated, he suddenly found himself trailing by two breaks of serve before recovering. “Before the second set he, like, go to toilet and come back and start to play better. I don’t know what he did there,” he said, causing the press conference to rock with mirth. “He start to make no mistakes, played three, four, five, six balls and have control already. I just surprised.” Davydenko, currently down at 46 but still capable of significantly higher on the evidence of his enduringly excellent, earlytaken ground strokes, was not apparently convinced that he is on his way back to a ranking which his best tennis would seem to justify. “One day I play good. Next day I coming and I play like 300 year old,” he said. “Sometimes I feel good, and sometimes

like I say after one hour I’m so tired and just start to thinking why maybe I’m so old. “Maybe something I eat today not so good. We are tennis players, a little bit crazy.” Davydenko does though want to see if he can beat another top ten player, as he did David Ferrer, the world number four, en route to the final in Doha last month. He may get the chance. He next plays Victor Hanescu, the world number 58 from Rumania, who got past Bernard Tomic when the promising Australian retired with a “general illness” after only five games, and if Davydenko survives that he should meet Roger Federer in the last eight. Later there was almost another upset when Juan Martin del Potro, the fourthseeded former US Open champion from Argentina, saved three match points to beat Marcos Baghdatis, the former Australian Open finalist from Cyprus, by 46, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4). Baghdatis, ranked 36, got his big chances when Del Potro was serving at 4-5 in the final set, when he went 15-40 and then advantage point down. On the first two match points Baghdatis was a little passive, allowing Del Potro to work his way out of difficulty, and on the third Del Potro launched a good first serve and a fine follow up forehand. Both men had patches of fine groundstroking but were prone to unexpected lapses. Del Potro survived because his most solid play came in the crises. “Marcos also deserved to win,” he said almost diffidently on court afterwards. “But the luck came for me. Perhaps I played better in the important moments.” — AFP

CHICAGO: The streak is just a number now. The NHL record is in the rearview mirror, so each additional game just means another giddy opponent eager to stop the Chicago Blackhawks. So far, the skaters in red and black have responded to each challenge. “Without sounding arrogant, it’s just business as usual,” forward Patrick Sharp said. Thing is, there’s nothing routine about it. Certainly not after Chicago beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 in overtime on Monday night, stretching its opening points streak to 19 games. The record went down days ago, when the Blackhawks beat San Jose 2-1 on Friday night to make it 17 in a row. Now the questions are how long can it go on, and which team will stop the streak. The Oilers gave it a good run, but eventually succumbed to the waves of pressure from the Blackhawks. “They are an amazingly powerful team,” Edmonton coach Ralph Krueger said. “They are very strong on the puck and they never, never let up, at all.” Sharp set up the winning goal with a quick turn along the boards and a drive to the goal that led to two stops by Nikolai Khabibulin. Marian Hossa picked up the second rebound and was again stuffed by Khabibulin before he poked it in 1:44 into overtime for his ninth goal of the season. “It is a great feeling, obviously,” Hossa said. “It doesn’t matter who’s scoring and lately we have a lot of different guys scoring. We try to enjoy the streak, keep playing a simple game and try to find a way to win.” Patrick Kane and Viktor Stalberg also scored for Chicago (16-0-3), which has won six straight and nine of 10. Ray Emery made 17 saves to remain unbeaten in eight starts this season. The Blackhawks have earned 35 of 38 possible points so far this season. “It was a great third period,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. “We had the puck in overtime, too. Great pay by Sharpie going to the net; great patience and presence with Hossa to finish.” Nail Yakupov and Jeff Petr y scored for Edmonton, which carried a 2-1 lead into the third period but couldn’t hold on for what would have been its fourth consecutive victor y over the Blackhawks.

CHICAGO: Viktor Stalberg #25 of the Chicago Blackhawks controls the puck in front of Ryan NugentHopkins #93 of the Edmonton Oilers at the United Center on Monday, in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Oilers 3-2 in overtime. — AFP Khabibulin had 31 stops in the opener of the Oilers’ franchiserecord, nine-game road trip. “Of course you feel pain, having the lead going into the third period,” Krueger said. “It’s definitely something you dream and believe you can close it.” Edmonton grabbed the lead for the last time in the second, taking advantage when Brandon Saad was sent off for high sticking. Yakupov, the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft, one-timed a pass from Sam Gagner into the right side of the net at 14:17 for his fourth powerplay goal and sixth overall. Chicago looked listless for much of the second, but rebounded quickly in the third. Michal Rozsival was behind the net when he sent a pass in front to Stalberg, who poked the puck into the goal mouth as Khabibulin went to his knees to try for the stop. The call on the ice was no goal, but replays showed the puck crossed the line before Khabibulin could make the play and Stalberg

was awarded his fifth goal of the season after a short review. The pace picked up after the tying goal, and each team had a couple of solid chances to move in front. Yakupov shot off the post on one power-play opportunity, and Khabibulin stopped Hossa on a short-handed chance. “I think for us it would have been a big statement game if we were able to break the streak,” Gagner said. “But at the same time, once we didn’t do that, we wanted to find a way to get it in overtime and were unable to do that as well. So it was unfortunate we kind of squandered the lead there.” Edmonton moved in front in the first period after Duncan Keith lost his footing and coughed up the puck deep in Chicago’s end. Lennart Petrell picked it up and skated in all alone on Emery, who stopped his backhand attempt. The rebound went out to Petry, who sent it over the prone goalie at 4:28. Just over a minute later, Kane skated to the middle of the ice and

beat Khabibulin with a slick backhander for his 10th goal of the season. It was his first goal since Feb. 10 at Nashville, ending a six -game drought. “We keep finding ways to win,” said Sharp, who picked up his 400th career point on the assist in overtime. “That’s important at any time of the year. Those one-goal games, we’re on the right side of them. We were thankful to pull it out today.” NOTES: Chicago closed out a 60-1 homestand. ... Edmonton F Taylor Hall served the second of a two-game suspension for his hit on Minnesota’s Cal Clutterbuck on Thursday. ... Blackhawks C Dave Bolland missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury. Chicago also scratched D Sheldon Brookbank and LW Brandon Bollig for the second straight night. ... Ds Ryan Whitney and Theo Peckham were the other scratches for the Oilers. ... The Black hawks improved to 10-0-3 in one-goal games. — AP

Djokovic, Del Potro go through in Dubai DUBAI: Novak Djokovic trounced fellow Serb Viktor Troicki 6-1 6-4 in the Dubai Championships first round yesterday as the world number one extended his unbeaten run to 14 matches. Djokovic, whose winning streak stretches back to October and includes claiming a third straight Australian Open title, was broken once in the second set but was otherwise untroubled in his first match since Davis Cup duty in early February. “I had three or four weeks of no tennis, so I was extremely focused to start well and I did really well in the first set,” Djokovic, 25, said in a courtside interview. “I was right behind his serve and I’m very satisfied with my performance and hopefully I can continue.” Few would bet against the top seed meeting Roger Federer in Saturday’s final, with the pair having won eight of the past 10 Dubai titles, although the Swiss did need three sets to get past wild card Malek Jaziri on Monday. Also into the second round is former U.S. Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro, who saved three match points on his way to beating Marcos Baghdatis 4-6 6-4 7-6. Fourth seed Del Potro recovered from 4-1 down in the deciding set, the Argentine’s superior ground strokes ultimately wearing down his Cypriot opponent as dusk fell. “Marcos also deserved to win but the luck was behind me and I played better in the big moments,” Del Potro said in a courtside interview. “In the tiebreak I was solid.” The opening two sets were decided by a service break as both players opted for a serve and

volley approach, Del Potro losing the first with a double-fault. In the deciding set, Del Potro misjudged a Baghdatis lob that drifted in after the 24-year-old pulled his racket away at the last moment to allow the Cypriot to break. The 2006 Australian Open finalist then held for a 4-1 lead, but Del Potro was not finished, storming back to level at 4-4 with Baghdatis

unable to live with the precision and venom of the world number seven’s ground strokes. Del Potro had been guilty of making too many unforced errors but was nerveless in saving successive match points, then a third, to hold for 5-5 as some brutal serving helped him survive. In the tiebreak, Baghdatis wilted by clubbing shots wide and long. —Reuters

DUBAI: Serbia’s Novak Djokovic returns the ball to his compatriot Viktor Troicki during their ATP Dubai Open tennis match in the Gulf emirate yesterday. — AFP

NFL draft prospect from Utah has heart ailment INDIANAPOLIS: Top draft prospect Star Lotulelei will undergo more extensive heart tests when he returns to Utah. Doctors at the NFL’s annual scouting combine in Indianapolis found the star defensive tackle and likely high pick has a heart condition, Lotulelei’s agent, Bruce Tollner, confirmed in a series of emails with The Associated Press on Monday. Tollner said Lotulelei would not take questions regarding the diagnosis yet. But the 6-foot-2, 311-pound defensive tackle still plans to do a full workout in front of scouts at his regularly scheduled Pro Day on March 20. The Tonga native was scheduled to fly to Utah on Monday night, Tollner said. ESPN first reported Lotulelei has a left ventricle that is not operating at maximum capacity. Lotulelei’s professional future could depend heavily on what doctors find. The Utah standout is con-

sidered one of the best prospects in this year’s draft. He is trying to join Alex Smith as the only players from the University of Utah to go No. 1 overall; San Francisco took Smith with the top pick in 2005. “You’re going to have to get all kinds of second and third opinions,” Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. When asked whether the Cardinals would remove Lotulelei from their draft board if those doctors confirmed the diagnosis, Arians said: “That’s exactly what would happen.” Uncovering information like this is the reason the combine actually began in the late 1980s. Coaches and general managers have said for years that medical checks are a crucial component of the combine, perhaps the most important data they get all week so they can make informed decisions on draft weekend.

“The No. 1 reason that this started was for medical reasons, and you bring everybody here and have a chance to look at 300-plus guys, X-rays, MRIs, and get your hands on those guys,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said Thursday. “Each step along the way it added a little bit more, whether it was physical testing, or mental testing, or interview process. Nothing stands alone. You’re not going to draft a guy based on a 15-minute interview at the combine, or based on one attempt at a broad jump at the combine. It’s all just part of the big picture.” This is not the first time a big-name player has been diagnosed with an illness or injury at the combine. In 2009, doctors found a small stress fracture in the left foot of receiver Michael Crabtree. Crabtree was still chosen No. 10 overall by San Francisco and had a breakout season in 2012. It’s also not unusual for doctors to send players

with medical questions from Lucas Oil Stadium, where the combine is held, to a nearby hospital for more extensive examination. The shuttles certainly have been full this week. Among those hoping to prove they will be healthy enough to play this season are running back Marcus Lattimore, trying to return from last fall’s gruesome knee injury, and top-rated cornerback Dee Milliner, who said he will undergo surgery next month for a torn labrum in his right shoulder. The NFL future of three players defensive lineman Walter Stewart, linebacker Jarvis Jones and defensive back D.J. Hayden - will depend heavily on what doctors tell teams. Stewart and Jones were both diagnosed with congenital spinal conditions and were told to give up football. Both were later cleared to return to the sport. Hayden said he tore the main artery to his heart

in a practice collision in November. But teams already knew about those conditions before coming to the combine. Lotulelei’s situation came as a major surprise. Arians said he was “shocked” that the problem had not been detected before now. Finding a potential ailment in a player with aspirations of going No. 1 is certainly not the norm, though it is not unprecedented. In 2011, defensive end Da’Quan Bowers came to the combine projected to go No. 1, but during a medical recheck, doctors found signs of potential long-term arthritis and some weakness in his surgically repaired right knee. Bowers wound up sliding out of the first round and wasn’t selected until No. 51 overall by Tampa Bay. This time, though, it’s different. “We’re talking about a heart,” Arians said. “That’s huge. We’re not talking about a knee or a shoulder.” — AP



NBA results/standings Washington 90, Toronto 84; Atlanta 114, Detroit 103; Denver 119, LA Lakers 108; Boston 110, Utah 107 (OT). Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L PCT GB NY Knicks 33 20 .623 Brooklyn 33 24 .579 2 Boston 30 27 .526 5 Philadelphia 22 32 .407 11.5 Toronto 23 34 .404 12 Central Division Indiana 35 21 .625 Chicago 32 24 .571 3 Milwaukee 26 28 .481 8 Detroit 22 37 .373 14.5 Cleveland 18 38 .321 17 Southeast Division Miami 40 14 .741 Atlanta 32 23 .582 8.5 Washington 18 37 .327 22.5 Orlando 15 41 .268 26 Charlotte 13 43 .232 28

Western Conference Northwest Division Oklahoma City41 15 .732 36 22 .621 Denver Utah 31 26 .544 Portland 26 30 .464 Minnesota 20 33 .377 Pacific Division LA Clippers 40 18 .690 Golden State 33 23 .589 LA Lakers 28 30 .483 Sacramento 19 38 .333 Phoenix 18 39 .316 Southwest Division San Antonio 45 13 .776 37 18 .673 Memphis Houston 31 27 .534 Dallas 25 30 .455 New Orleans 20 37 .351

6 10.5 15 19.5 6 12 20.5 21.5 6.5 14 18.5 24.5

O’Sullivan set to defend world title LONDON: Ronnie O’Sullivan is set to end his snooker exile and defend his world title in April this year, the English cuemaster announced at a news conference in London yesterday. Four-time world champion O’Sullivan, 37, has played only one competitive match this season after growing disenchanted with snooker and had until the end of February to decide whether to defend his title before the entry list closed. As reigning champion, O’Sullivan will be the top seed at the World Championship, which starts at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, northern England, on April 20. And he insisted a lack of match practice was no reason to disregard his title chances, saying: “I just thought it was time to come back. I have a different perspective now.” He added: “I am used to being written off. I know how good I am and that I can do this.” O’Sullivan has played just once since winning his fourth world title in May an uninspiring loss to the previously little-known Simon Bedford at a minor tournament in Gloucester, southwest England. “Three or four months ago I was sitting thinking that I would rather be losing 10-0 in Sheffield to be back playing, rather than going for lunch, dinner and chilling out,” O’Sullivan, from Chigwell, east of London, explained. “I got bored and had to get back to playing, winning or losing, and it shows how big a part of my life snooker is. “I feel refreshed, I was never out of juice. I needed to take some time out, but not too much time, and I had it in the back of my mind that I would come back to playing snooker, but I needed to come back with a clear head.” O’Sullivan, installed at 7-1 for the title by betting firm William Hill behind 5-1 favourite Judd Trump, has played some exhibition matches with friend Jimmy White but accepts returning to competitive action will be something else entirely. “I’ve played three or four exhibitions but I’ve played 10 days in nine months, he said. “I’ve potted lots of balls but I’m match rusty. “I’ve not played matches in tense situations and it’s going to be a tough course with no practice. “You can never replicate match situations anywhere

else. This is a massive challenge but I see this as the start of a bigger picture.” Former world champion Dennis Taylor, speaking before the talented O’Sullivan made his announcement said snooker badly needed to see the return of a player nicknamed “The Rocket” for his speed of play. “The game needs Ronnie O’Sullivan. He’s not just any player, he’s the most naturally gifted player we have ever had in the game,” the Irishman, world champion in 1985, told the BBC. O’Sullivan wrote to World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn in November to say he would be skipping the remainder of the season, sparking speculation he was set to retire. The player has had a series of differences with World Snooker over the demands on players, although his management team cited personal problems when he stepped away from the sport last year. O’Sullivan has been eager to strike a balance between a career and family life, which is complicated by the increasing amount of travel on the expanding snooker tour and the ranking points system which rewards players who take part in the majority of tournaments. —AFP

LONDON: British snooker player Ronnie O’Sullivan poses for pictures with the World Snooker Championship trophy after addressing a press conference in London, yesterday. — AFP

Rising England star on drugs when killed LONDON: One of English cricket’s rising stars was killed after being electrocuted on a railway line then struck by a train as he attempted to flee police while on drink and drugs, an inquest was told yesterday. Surrey batsman Tom Maynard, widely regarded as a future England international, was found dead near Wimbledon Park station on the London Underground network in the early hours of June 18 last year. The 23-year-old son of former England batsman Matthew Maynard was electrocuted after stepping on a live track before he was hit by a train, causing him to die from multiple injuries, Westminster Coroner’s Court in central London heard. The coroner returned a verdict of accidental death. Before he died, Maynard had earlier been stopped by police nearby after his black Mercedes was seen driving erratically but he then fled the vehicle, leaving the keys in the ignition. A post-mortem examination revealed alcohol levels in his body four times above the legal driving limit and that he had taken cocaine and ecstasy in the form of MDMA after a night out. Forensic pathologist Simon Poole said it was impossible to say whether electrocution or the impact of the train had killed Maynard. The player’s girlfriend, Carly Baker, told the inquest she had urged him not to drive home when he called her at about 3.30 am on June 18 after he had been out drinking with friends. Two of Maynard’s team-mates, England fast bowler Jade Dernbach and former Surrey captain Rory Hamilton-Brown, also gave evidence, having been among the last people to see him alive.

Both cricketers said they were unaware Maynard had ever taken drugs. The three players had been drinking heavily on June 17 after losing a Twenty20 cricket match, first going to a London pub before continuing to drink at the home Maynard shared with Hamilton-Brown, a friend since school. They later went to a London nightclub. The inquest heard Maynard had been disciplined by Surrey after an incident in Brighton a week before his death, where he had been run over and injured himself after drinking alcohol. Hamilton-Brown told the jury this was Maynard’s first breach of discipline at Surrey and paid tribute to his team-mate. “I was jealous of his ability to celebrate highs and lows and stay level,” he said. “I’d describe him as an incredibly level guy with so much talent in all facets of life.” Cardiff-born Maynard, who came through the ranks at Glamorgan, where his father had been a player and later a coach, was a member of the second-string England Lions squad that toured Bangladesh and Sri Lanka last year. In a statement issued via the Professional Cricketers’ Association, the Maynard family urged Tom’s life be remembered for more than the evidence heard at the inquest. “The results of the inquest do not define our son,” the family said, adding: “The fact that so very many people thought the world of him is what defines him as a person.” M aynard ’s death had a profound effect on a youthful Surrey side, with Hamilton-Brown resigning the captaincy and subsequently leaving the club to join Sussex. —AFP

DENVER: Andre Miller #24 of the Denver Nuggets vies for a loose ball against Steve Nash #10 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers at the Pepsi Center on Monday in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Lakers 119-108. — AFP

Chandler leads Nuggets past Lakers, 119-108 DENVER: It’s a good thing Danilo Gallinari was a late scratch for the Denver Nuggets. With a bruised left thigh, he couldn’t have kept up with his hustling teammates as they sped past the aged and aching Los Angeles Lakers. Wilson Chandler scored 23 points in place of Gallinari, and Ty Lawson added 22 in the Nuggets’ 119-108 win Monday night in which Denver outscored the Lakers 33-3 on the fast break and 78-50 in the paint. “The fast-break points, that’s a killer,” Kobe Bryant said. “That team is like a track team over there.” And the Lakers were like a bunch of shuffle-boarders, trailing on the scoreboard and the hardwood all night long as they trudged through the second game of a difficult back-toback. “First, we know that they played last night,” Lawson said. “Coming into the altitude, also they’re a little slow getting back. So, once they miss a shot, it seemed like a jailbreak. Everybody was trying to run downcourt and get the layup.” Or the arena-shaking slam dunk. Or the rimrattling alley-oop jam. Corey Brewer also got extended minutes with Gallinari out and he scored 16, many in transition. Even seldom-used reserves Anthony Randolph and Jordan Hamilton joined in the fast-break fun. “Our running game was sensational,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “And we put enough defense in the game.” Gallinari, the Nuggets’ leading scorer, wasn’t needed as the Nuggets won their ninth straight game at home, snapped the Lakers’ three-game winning streak and took

the season series from their long-time nemesis 3-1. Coming off a down-to-the-wire win at Dallas the day before, the Lakers wanted to slow down the Nuggets but just couldn’t keep up with their younger, more athletic and, yes, better-rested opponents. “They just ran out of the starter’s blocks and beat us down the floor,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said. “... We couldn’t catch them. We just couldn’t catch them. For whatever reason, they just took off. Even on just a missed shot, we couldn’t get back quick enough.’” Bryant led the Lakers with 29 points, and his fadeaway jumper with five minutes left cut Denver’s lead to 106-99, but the Lakers got no closer. The Nuggets scored 22 points off the Lakers’ 15 turnovers. “It’s tough to neutralize speed, especially when they’re very good at what they do,” Bryant said. “Yeah, their speed. Their speed got us. They got out on transition, got easy buckets. Kept the pressure on us. We had to labor for opportunities, think we might have had two fast-break points. Contrast that with 33. It’s crazy.” Anything and everything the Lakers tried to do to flip the size-speed disadvantage only backfired on them. “You have to almost overexaggerate getting back on defense,” Bryant said. “Literally, nobody can go to the offensive boards.” Sure enough, the Lakers had zero rebounds off the offensive glass in the first half and just eight all night. “I think it was their speed,” Bryant said. “Their speed was something that was tough for us to

adjust to all night long. They continually pushed the ball down our throats. Shots go up and those guys are already leaking out, to go along with the speed. They got a lot of easy buckets because of it.” Bryant needed 23 shots to score his 29 points and he often found those shots getting swatted away by JaVale McGee, including one that led to a basket by Lawson as the Nuggets took a 67-54 halftime lead. A flustered Bryant picked up a technical foul on his way to the locker room. Bryant said his NBA-leading 14th technical of the season was a misunderstanding and he’s confident the league will rescind it. A one-game suspension is in order when a player reaches 16 technical fouls. “I’m not concerned,” Bryant said. Andre Iguodala (14 points, 12 assists) and Kenneth Faried (12 points, 10 rebounds) posted doubledoubles for Denver. Dwight Howard added 15 points and 14 boards for LA but missed 11 of his last 12 free throws after sinking his first two. “That was the highlight,” D’Antoni cracked. “It happens. I’m not going to dwell on it much, just because nobody steps up there and wants to miss it. We just need to clean up the other stuff. “I was more disappointed in the turnovers in the first quarter and not having that little extra burst to try to get back. We couldn’t even get three guys back. It was like 5-on-2. They had all five guys down and we had one back or two back. To me, we just weren’t quite ready for their speed.” —AP

Security tight as Lippi’s Guangzhou beat Reds GUANGZHOU: Marcello Lippi’s Guangzhou Evergrande swept aside Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds 3-0 in an AFC Champions League opener crackling with political tensions and played under heavy security yesterday. As the Asian competition got underway with goals and an outlandish “Panenka” penalty, the Chinese double-holders began their campaign in ominous style as they dispatched the 2007 winners at home. Chinese media said 11,000 police and security were deployed to prevent any flare-up in nationalist violence. Leading website called it China’s highest ever ratio of guards to fans, who numbered about 40,000. But Lucas Barrios’s 16th-minute opener helped calm the atmosphere and Muriqui weighed in with a second goal after half-time. At the death, Keita Suzuki put the ball into his own net to make it an emphatic start for Guangzhou. The big-spenders, led by their World Cup-winning coach, are aiming to become China’s first Asian champions in 23 years, a result which would help mend the country’s image after a major corruption scandal which left top officials in jail. Ambitious China’s reputation has also suffered after highprofile imports Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka abruptly quit the country after just one season with Shanghai Shenhua. Fellow Chinese team Jiangsu Sainty had a rude introduction to the competition when they were hammered 5-1 in their debut outing by K-League champions FC Seoul, who will have their own claims on the Asian title. Buriram United, rocked last week by claims that their Thai FA Cup final win against Army United was targeted by match-fixers, started positively when they came back from a goal down to draw Japan’s Vegalta Sendai 1-1 away. “We may have to feel content that we

haven’t lost our opening match,” said Sendai coach Makoto Teguramori. “We tried to gain a little flexiblity in our tactics by changing our pace from the first to the second half.” At Nonthaburi’s Thunderdome Stadium, fellow Thai team Muangthong United also earned a priceless draw when they twice came from behind to draw 2-2 with Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, the 2006 winners and 2011 runners-up. Muangthong went 1-0 down to an

early Lee Dong-Gook penalty but they equalised on the stroke of half-time courtesy of Mario Djurovski’s sublime “Panenka”, chipped-down-the-middle spot-kick. Belgian forward Kevin Oris looked to have stolen the points for the visitors on 77 minutes but Muangthong’s South Korean import Kim Yoo-Jin had the last word when his header found the net via a Jeonbuk defender with just two minutes to go. Two west Asian groups will also kick

off on Tuesday. In Group A, Spanish coach Luis Milla will take charge of Al Jazira for the first time, just days after he replaced Brazilian Paulo Bonamigo, against Iran’s Tractorsazi Tabriz. In Group B, Qatari champions Lekhwiya will host play-off winners Al Shabab Al Arabi of the UAE, while Uzbekistan’s Pakhtakor, the only side to qualify for all 11 editions, take on Saudi side Al Ettifaq. The remaining games are today. — AFP

GUANGZHOU: Urawa Red Diamonds’ Abe Uki (L) tussles for the ball against Guangzhou Evergrande’s Dario Leonardo Conca in the AFC Champions group F match in Guangzhou’s Tianhe stadium yesterday. Guangzhou beat Urawa 3-0.— AFP



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Thai, Bahraini FA chiefs seek AFC leadership KUALA LUMPUR: The heads of the Thai and Bahraini football associations have emerged as contenders to lead the Asian governing body as the region seeks to replace scandal-hit exchief Mohamed bin Hammam. The ASEAN Football Federation released a statement late Monday throwing its support behind Thai football boss Worawi Makudi to take over the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). ASEAN stands for the Association of

Southeast Asian Nations. Bahrain’s Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa has also confirmed his intention to stand, World Football Insider reported on its website. The 46-member AFC will elect a new leader in May, hoping to move past nearly two years of turmoil over allegations of wrongdoing including bribery by bin Hammam. The Qatari denies the allegations. It is currently headed by caretaker leader Zhang Jilong of China, who is considered the front-runner to win the

post. Worawi did not answer calls from AFP seeking comment. An AFC spokesman said the organisation could not publicly confirm candidates until after the March 3 nomination deadline. The AFC, the largest of six federations that make up football’s world governing body FIFA, will hold a congress to select the new leadership at its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur on May 2. World Football Insider had previ-

ously reported that Yousuf al-Serkal, the head of the United Arab Emirates FA, had thrown his hat into the ring. Bin Hammam, 63, was accused of trying to buy votes in FIFA’s 2011 presidential vote as he challenged the powerful Sepp Blatter to lead the global body, and was banned from football. The businessman formally resigned as AFC leader in December, shortly after FIFA’s ethics committee launched a new probe into corruption claims

against him. Bin Hammam, who first took over in 2002, remains suspended from football despite having the FIFA life ban overturned last year. The AFC also said last year it was probing alleged corruption by bin Hammam when he was its chief. Bin Hammam has denied wrongdoing in the FIFA presidential challenge and claims to be the victim of a politically motivated campaign to ruin him. He was once close to Blatter but the two later became estranged. — AFP

Brilliant Bale fires Spurs into third place

MONTBELIARD: Sochaux’ Malian defender Cedric Kante (l) vies with Troyes’ Brazilian forward Marcos (2nd R) during a French cup football match Sochaux (FCSM) vs Troyes (ESTAC) yesterday, at the Auguste Bonal Stadium in Montbeliard, eastern France. — AFP

Beckham to start in Cup test: Ancelotti PARIS: Paris Saint-Germain’s new star recruit, English veteran David Beckham, will start in the French Cup round of 16 encounter against rivals Marseille, coach Carlo Ancelotti said yesterday. “Yes, Beckham will start in the position of (suspended midfielder) Marco Verratti,” Ancelotti told reporters before today’s game. “It’s an important position,” added Ancelotti. “Beckham must help make the play and defensively have a good tactical position on the pitch-he will have the same things to do as Verratti,” said Ancelotti, who believes the 37-year-old still has plenty to offer. “Can he still take corners and freekicks? He has the quality to do so,” said the Italian. “Beckham can play a whole match, he has the quality to play in the middle of the park.” The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star, on a five-month contract, made a cameo debut appearance from the bench at the weekend, setting up the second goal in a 2-0 league win over Marseille which put the capital club three points clear at the top of Ligue 1. Marseille coach Elie Baup, having been on the receiving end of Beckham’s talents last Sunday, said Tuesday his men were forewarned as they look to end their rivals’ cup hopes. Noting PSG’s speed in launching attacks, he suggested the former England star was a good fit for his new club. “Beckham absolutely has his place in the role of supplier-he sent in a few balls during the quarter hour he played. If PSG retain the same strategy as Sunday he will rapidly fit the mould in terms of passing and dead ball situations. “But we will be out to get the best result possible. Paris are putting in place a future of the highest quality but in a one-off match we can knock them out of their stride and get a result,” Baup insist-

ed. Meanwhile, PSG sporting director Leonardo told AFP on Tuesday that Beckham has a lot to offer the capital club on the pitch and hit out at those who are sceptical as to the reasons why the Englishman was signed. “I am happy but it’s not a surprise, I know him well,” said the Brazilian of Beckham’s debut appearance. “Beckham is not sitting a test, he is here to help us. I have always said that he is here for the sporting side. “The number of interviews that you give or the number of shirts that you sell will not change or help a club evolve. “What matters is the titles that you win. “A player like him cannot be questioned. If you do so it shows that you don’t know football, and there are a lot here (who don’t know football).” — AFP

English League table English Premier League table after Monday’s match (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points): Man Utd 27 22 2 3 64 31 68 Man City 27 16 8 3 50 24 56 Tottenham 27 15 6 6 47 32 51 Chelsea 27 14 7 6 55 30 49 Arsenal 27 13 8 6 52 30 47 Everton 27 10 12 5 41 34 42 West Brom 27 12 4 11 38 36 40 Liverpool 27 10 9 8 49 34 39 Swansea 27 9 10 8 38 34 37 Stoke 27 7 12 8 26 32 33 Fulham 27 8 8 11 37 42 32 Norwich 27 7 11 9 27 41 32 Newcastle 27 8 6 13 38 48 30 West Ham 27 8 6 13 31 41 30 Sunderland 27 7 8 12 29 36 29 S’mpton 27 6 9 12 38 49 27 Wigan 27 6 6 15 33 51 24 Aston Villa 27 5 9 13 26 52 24 Reading 27 5 8 14 33 51 23 QPR 27 2 11 14 19 43 17

LONDON: Gareth Bale fired Tottenham into third place in the Premier League as his sublime last minute goal capped a majestic performance in a 3-2 win over West Ham at Upton Park on Monday. Bale has been in the form of his life in recent weeks and the Wales winger added another chapter to his growing legend with a brilliant brace that would surely have been appreciated by Hammers legend Bobby Moore, whose death 20 years ago was marked by a moving pre-match tribute. Moore, regarded as one of the best defenders in the history of the game, famously captained England to World Cup glory in 1966 and also led West Ham to FA Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup triumphs. But even Moore might have been hard pressed to subdue Bale in this mood. Bale had given Spurs a first half lead but an Andy Carroll penalty and Joe Cole’s strike put West Ham ahead by the hour mark. Gylfi Sigurdsson came off the bench to equalise and Bale produced a simply remarkable long-range winner to move Tottenham, unbeaten in their last 11 league games, two points clear of Chelsea and four ahead of fifth placed Arsenal, who visit White Hart Lane on Sunday. Moore’s grandchildren led the teams out and placed the ball on the spot for kickoff, which followed an emotional minutes’ applause. Fuelled by the sense of occasion, West Ham started brightly and Matt Jarvis cut into the penalty area after a flowing move and fired in a low strike that Hugo Lloris saved well. Just as West Ham appeared to seizing control of the match, Bale underlined his claims as the best player in the Premier League with yet another moment of magic to put Spurs ahead in the 13th minute. Bale was surrounded by West Ham defenders on the edge of the penalty area, but, drifting away from James Collins, he cleverly worked space for a shot and as West Ham’s back-four hesitated the Welsh winger drove a low strike past Jussi Jaaskelainen.

LONDON: Tottenham Hotspur’s Welsh defender Gareth Bale (R) vies for the ball against West Ham’s Republic of Ireland defender Joey OíBrien (L) in an English Premier League football match at the Boleyn Ground, Upton Park, in east London, on Monday. — AFP That was Bale’s 22nd goal for club and country this season, as well as his eighth in his last seven games. But West Ham responded well to that setback and grabbed an equaliser in the 25th minute. Kevin Nolan laid the ball off to Carroll in a dangerous position in the penalty area and former West Ham midfielder Scott Parker, lunging in to block, made clear contact on Carroll, forcing referee Howard Webb to give the spot-kick. England forward Carroll, on loan from Liverpool, stepped up to smash the penalty past Lloris for his third goal of the season. Jan Vertonghen almost restored Tottenham’s lead in the opening moments of the second half when his cross deflected off Guy Demel and forced Jaaskelainen into a scrambling save. Jaaskelainen, called into action again from the resulting corner to push

away Steven Caulker’s towering header, was keeping Spurs at bay almost single-handed. He turned Sigurdsson’s long-range shot onto a post and when the rebound fell to Emmanuel Adebayor, the Hammers goalkeeper leapt to his feet to block the Togo striker’s follow-up. After those escapes, West Ham moved ahead in the 58th minute when Cole collected Joey O’Brien’s lofted pass with a fine first touch and turned to bury his shot beyond Lloris. Tottenham kept pressing and, after Matt Taylor missed a golden chance to extend West Ham’s lead, the visitors levelled when Sigurdsson prodded home at the far post from Bale’s free-kick. That set the stage for a pulsating finish and after more heroics from Jaaskelainen, Bale took charge, producing a truely stunning strike from 30 yards to seal the points. — AFP

Penitent Mata calls for Chelsea cup reaction MIDDLESBROUGH: Juan Mata says Chelsea must use recent disappointments as a source of motivation as they bid to set up an FA Cup quarter-final glamour tie with Manchester United. The European champions visit second-tier Middlesbrough in the fifth round on Wednesday, three days after a 2-0 loss at Manchester City that left them seven points adrift of the top two in the Premier League. It leaves Champions League qualification as Chelsea’s only realistic objective in the league this season, but they remain in contention for honours in both the FA Cup and the Europa League. The draw for the last eight in the FA Cup dealt Rafael Benitez’s side a possible trip to Old Trafford in the next round and Mata believes that should provide

Matches on TV (Local Timings) EnglandFA Cup Middlesbrough v Chelsea 22:45 Aljazeera Sport +5 SpainCup Sevilla v Atletico Aljazeera Sport +2


enough motivation to cast recent setbacks into the shade. Writing on his official blog,, the Spain midfielder said: “We’re sorry for our fans. “The way to overcome the disappointment is winning again, and this coming Wednesday we have an opportunity to move one step forward in the FA Cup. “We can still win two titles. That, plus getting a ticket to play the next Champions League, is our motivation with a view to the rest of the season and we will fight for those goals until the end, like this club has always done.” Interim Chelsea coach Benitez has complained that his club are “playing too many games” at the moment and he seems likely to shuffle his pack for the trip to the Riverside Stadium. Striker Fernando Torres and club captain John Terry will both hope to start, having been named on the substitutes’ bench for the defeat at City. Middlesbrough, FA Cup quarter-finalists five times since the turn of the century, are also seeking distraction from poor league form. The north-east club have lost seven of their nine Championship games to date this year and slipped out of the play-off places after losing 2-1 at home to Millwall on Saturday. “I’m looking forward to it. It is a one-off that will lift the tensions of the Championship season,” said manager Tony Mowbray. — AFP

MUNICH: Bayern Munich’s players celebrate after the German first division Bundesliga football match FC Bayern Munich vs SV Werder Bremen in Munich, southern Germany. — AFP

Dortmund out to shatter Bayern’s ‘perfect’ season BERLIN: Holders Borussia Dortmund are aiming to shatter Bayern Munich’s “perfect season” when Germany’s top two teams collide in today’s crunch German Cup quarter-final in a repeat of last season’s final. “For them, it’s a perfect season, for us it is like a Champions League away game,” said Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp with Bayern a commanding 17 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga, with Borussia second in the league. “We know that we are one of the few clubs on the planet who can beat Bayern.”We have ambitions in this competition, but we need a good performance. “You can’t beat Bayern by playing at just 98 percent.” The match at Munich’s Allianz Arena is the plum tie of the cup quarter-finals with seemingly unstoppable Bayern up against last season’s domestic double winners Dortmund. “These are the two best teams in Germany. I reckon the whole nation is looking forward to it - and so are we,” said Bayern captain Philipp Lahm. Having hammered Bayern 5-2 in last May’s German Cup final, when Poland striker Robert Lewandowski netted a hat-trick,

Dortmund have plenty of experience of beating their Bavarian rivals in recent years. Bayern have not beaten Dortmund in a league or cup match since February 2010, although they did enjoy a 2-1 Supercup final win in August over Borussia in a pre-season warm-up for the Bundesliga’s top sides. “Three years ago, we still had to scroll through the history books to see when we last won against Bayern,” quipped Klopp with both Bayern and Dortmund in the last 16 of the Champions League. “Now we have noticed that the respect from Bayern has increased towards us.” Bayern are clearly investing heavily in Wednesday’s game as coach Jupp Heynckes rested several stars for last Saturday’s 6-1 hammering of Werder Bremen at the Allianz Arena. Lahm, Dutch wing Arjen Robben and Brazil centre-back Dante were also all given Monday off by Heynckes to rest up for the match. “We have huge ambitions in the cup and are highly motivated,” said Heynckes, with Bayern last having won a title in May 2010 and are on course for a historic treble. “We are playing at home, we are self confident and we are playing

football at an extremely high level. So we are optimistic.” Dortmund will have centre-back Mats Hummels (bruised thigh), midfielder Jakub Blaszczykowski (hip strain) and striker Robert Lewandowski (suspension) back after missing Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Moenchengladbach. Bayern will be without France wing Franck Ribery, who is suspended after a red card in December’s previous round, while Spain midfielder Javi Martinez is expected to be fit despite suffering a light groin injury against Bremen. With all due respect to the other teams in the quarter-finals, tonight’s winner will become the odds on favourite to win the German Cup final at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on June 1. On Tuesday, Mainz 05 host Freiburg, in the round’s only other allBundesliga match, and third-division Kickers Offenbach host top-tier side VfL Wolfsburg, while VfB Stuttgart are home to second-division VfL Bochum today. Giant-killers Offenbach are aiming to claim their third Bundesliga scalp having already beaten Greuther Fuerth and Fortuna Duesseldorf en route to the last eight. — AFP

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Chandler leads Nuggets past Lakers, 119-108


Brilliant Bale fires Spurs into third place

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BARCELONA: Barcelona's defender Gerard Pique (R) vies with Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (L) during the Spanish Cup semi-final second leg football match FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid CF at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona yesterday. — AFP

Ronaldo destroys Barca Real Madrid in King’s Cup final BARCELONA: Cristiano Ronaldo continued his fine goal scoring record at the Nou Camp with a brace as Real Madrid beat Barcelona 3-1 to go through to the final of the King’s Cup 4-2 on aggregate. The Portuguese hit a first half penalty and then knocked in a rebound after the break as Real took full advantage of their counter-attacks. Raphael Varane headed the third after 68 minutes while Jordi Alba got a late consolation. Real Madrid will now take on the winners of Sevilla and Atletico Madrid who play today, the capital side enjoying a 2-1 lead from their first leg. Ronaldo has now scored in his last six visits to the Catalan capital and came out on top in his personal battle with Lionel Messi, who was largely anonymous in the game. The Argentine, however, has the chance to respond when the pair meet again in the league at the weekend. This was the vital game though for Real who trail leaders

Barcelona by 16 points in La Liga after a poor campaign and it is their best chance of picking up some silverware outside of the Champions League, in which they are evenly poised against Manchester United after a 1-1 first leg draw at the Bernabeu. There were no surprises in the Barcelona lineup with Andres Iniesta preferred in attack to David Villa which allowed space for Cesc Fabregas in midfield. Jose Mourinho chose Varane, who did so well in the first leg, ahead of Pepe to partner Sergio Ramos in the heart of the Madrid defence while finally there was no space for the rejuvenated Kaka with Angel Di Maria starting on the right wing. Barca began at a high-tempo with Iniesta firing wide from 20 yards and then Messi screwed an angled shot with his weaker right foot past the post from the edge of the six-yard box before two minutes were even on the clock.

While Barca had their usual attacking ethos they were not pressing with the same intensity high up the pitch and so when Real did pick up possession they were able to play their way out of defence. Cesc had another effort which was comfortably blocked by keeper Diego Lopez before the visitors took the lead from a penalty after a breakaway which showed the danger they possess in attack, as well as Barca’s suspect defence which has now not kept a clean sheet in 12 matches in all competitions. Ronaldo knocked the ball around Gerard Pique inside the area and his former Manchester United teammate brought him down for a spot-kick which the Portuguese converted. Barca were hoping for a penalty of their own moments later but the referee waved away appeals for a foul by Alvaro Arbeloa on Cesc and it showed how the home side were becoming more frustrated at their inability to create

clear-cut chances. Real were defending well while they continued to threaten through Ronaldo counter-attacks. Barca did win a free-kick on the edge of the area for a foul by Arbeloa after on Iniesta for which he was booked after 37 minutes and Messi’s shot went a whisker past the post. Barca attacked with renewed vigour after the break but it was Real who scored again after 57 minutes. Di Maria skipped round Carles Puyol and ‘keeper Victor Valdes could only parry his shot to Ronaldo who kept his composure to slot home. The Catalan side looked stunned and lost their shape at the back as Real cut them apart. Varane got their third as he outjumped the Barca defence at a corner to head in off the crossbar. A minute from the end Barca did finally get on the scoresheet with Alba knocking in a ball over the top from Iniesta. — AFP

Everton beat Oldham to reach FA Cup q-finals LIVERPOOL: Everton succeeded where Merseyside rivals Liverpool had failed by beating Oldham Athletic 3-1 yesterday to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals. Third-tier Oldham eliminated Liverpool in round four and held Everton to a 2-2 draw in their initial fifth-round meeting 10 days ago, but their cup heroics were ended in the replay at Goodison Park. Goals from Kevin Mirallas, Leighton Baines and Leon Osman took David Moyes’ side into the last eight, where they will face Wigan Athletic, with Oldham’s cup talisman Matt Smith replying for the visitors. Beaten semi-finalists in last season’s competition, Everton were without the injured Marouane Fellaini but made a purposeful start and took the lead in the 15th minute. After a patient build-up, Darron Gibson shaped a beautiful cross into the box from deep on the right and Mirallas stole in to finish with an adroit half-volley from eight yards. Oldham almost drew level immediately through former Everton youngster Jose Baxter, who seized on a loose ball on the edge of the box but saw his curling shot bounce back off the right-hand upright. The visitors then had a penalty appeal turned down

when Phil Jagielka’s clearance struck Gibson on the arm. Their resurgence proved short-lived, however, as Baines helped Everton stamp their authority on the tie. Having seen a vicious strike saved by Oldham goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis minutes earlier, the England leftback doubled his side’s advantage from the penalty spot in the 34th minute after Connor Brown was penalised for handball. Everton centre-back Jagielka blazed over the Oldham bar early in the second half, while Bouzanis saved from Osman. In response, Oldham introduced giant striker Smith, scorer of two goals against Liverpool and an injury-time equaliser in the first game with Everton. Oldham rallied, Lee Croft firing wide from a good position, but in the 62nd minute, Everton struck again. Steven Pienaar whipped a cross into the box from the left and Osman’s flicked header deceived Bouzanis, who was distracted by the onrushing Nikica Jelavic. Smith replied immediately, nodding in a right-wing corner from close range, but Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard resisted Oldham’s efforts to claw their way back into the game. — AFP

LIVERPOOL: Everton’s US goalkeeper Tim Howard (2R) clears the ball during the English FA Cup fifth round replay football match between Everton and Oldham Athletic at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north-west England yesterday. — AFP


Poor families beat eviction in Spain Page 22 HP parts with webOS in LG Electronics deal Page 23


Nissan launches new era for Nismo

flydubai braces for more frequencies, fleet expansion Page 25

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JAKARTA: A model displays a BlackBerry mobile phone with a Bank Permata program during a ceremony yesterday as the two companies launched the world’s first instant messaging banking service in Indonesia, capitalising on the nation’s addiction to the smart phone that is losing popularity in other key markets. —AFP

Italy’s political uncertainty hits stocks Euro hits 7-week low before recovering LONDON: World stock markets and southern European government bonds sank yesterday on fears that political gridlock in Italy would leave its economic reforms in tatters and reignite the eurozone’s broader debt crisis. However, US stocks, which fell in reaction to the Italian election outcome on Monday, were poised to open higher, with investors awaiting testimony by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on future policy direction. But the uncertainty generated by the Italian poll was still rattling most other major risk asset markets, with Italy’s 10-year bond yields, which rise as prices fall, up as much as half a point to 4.86 percent, their highest since midDecember. Investors also sold Spanish and Portuguese debt and sent Brent crude oil prices down to $113 barrel, their lowest level in a month, while safe-haven assets like gold and German government bonds rallied. “The main driver now

is the deadlock after the Italian election - it’s triggered risk-off sentiment in the financial markets,” said Carsten Fritsch, commodity research analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. Investors are fearful that the strength of the vote for anti-austerity parties at the election will weaken efforts to reform Italy’s public finances and its labour laws, damaging the euro zone’s efforts to resolve its three-year old debt crisis. “What’s important is to understand if, in fact, this (vote) against austerity is also against reform, which clearly is still very important to Europe, and to Germany as well, with the elections coming in September,” said Virginie Maisonneuve, head of Global Equities at Schroder Investment Management. Last year’s promise by the European Central Bank to provide unlimited support to struggling euro zone nations provided some reassurance to

investors, allowing many to wait for greater clarification on Italy’s next step. “A lot of our clients are in a ‘wait and see’ mode looking to sit on their current holdings to see how the situation develops,” said Lyn Graham-Taylor, fixed-income strategist at Rabobank. “Obviously they will become active once the political situation becomes clearer,” he said. Italy and Spain’s need to change the shape of their economies, get growth going and debt down have been at the heart of the euro zone’s troubles for more than a year, but the fears have eased substantially since the ECB made its support clear. The uncertainty weighed on European share markets, dragging the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index down nearly 1 percent. London’s FTSE 100 was down 1.25 percent, while Paris’s CAC-40 and Frankfurt’s DAX were down as much as 1.7 percent. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific

shares outside Japan fell 0.9 percent, sending the MSCI world equity index down 0.6 percent to 349.1 points. The inconclusive outcome in Italy cast a further shadow over the euro, which had hit a high of $1.37 at the start of the month before steadily losing ground as economic data showed the region’s economy still struggling. The euro traded around $1.3050 yesterday, just above seven-week lows, while against the yen it was up 0.4 percent at 120.39 yen. “We have seen a cautious bounce (in the euro), but it doesn’t look like we are seeing anything durable here,” said Jeremy Stretch, head of currency strategy at CIBC. US worries Investors were also nervous before testimony later in the day from US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who could give further clues to

Dubai bourse sees largest drop

Mobile makers set their sights on grandparents BARCELONA: As smartphone giants Apple and Samsung battle for the wallets of tech-savvy youngsters, a growing number of manufacturers is trying to lure a fast-growing new market: their grandparents. Handset makers at the world’s biggest mobile fair in Barcelona, Spain, showed off a slew of new devices aimed at the hundreds of millions of older people put off by the complexity of the latest iPhones and Android-powered smartphones. One of the leaders of the segment in Europe, Austrian firm Emporia, launched a new handset, the Emporia Connect, at the February 24-28 Mobile World Congress. The sleek-looking black and silver flip phone is designed not to be “stigmatising” yet easy enough for older buyers to use, said Emporia’s general manager for France, Christophe Yerolymos. It has a keypad with larger numbers and an emergency button that will send an SOS along with data pinpointing the location of the phone. The phone features a system called Emporia Me, with an array of remote control features for the owner’s family, allowing a child or grandchild to check the device’s location, battery status, or ensure the volume is up.

While it is not a smartphone and has no mapping service, it does have an orientation feature that lets a user push a single button to get turn-by-turn audible instructions for returning to a car while on a shopping trip, for example. “Emporia is a company in growth, strong growth, even in the heart of the economic crisis we’re in at the moment in Europe,” said Yerolymos. Japan’s Fujitsu rolled out a European version of a smart phone for seniors, the Stylistic S01, which first launched in mid-2012 in Japan where it lured buyers from a wider age range than the group anticipated, from 45 years upwards. It is an Android-based smartphone with large, simplified icons, and a “family alert” button that will send a message along with geo-localisation data. But it also has an unusual touch-screen that will only respond when the user presses a bit harder so as to avoid launching applications by mistake, said Fujitsu Europe-Middle East-Africa product marketing director James Maynard. “You can actually pre-touch and then when you know which button you want to press, you can exert a little bit more pressure,” he said. “It’s made to grow with you so as you become more confident you

naturally will exert more pressure on to the device. It’s a stepping stone from a feature phone to a smartphone and using a touch panel for the first time.” Kapsys, a French firm, showed off its SmartConnect handset aimed at seniors. The firm is in discussions with operators including Orange and is hoping to launch the device for about 400 euros ($520) in Europe in June and then in the United States by the end of 2013, said chief executive Aram Hekimian. The SmartConnect boasts familiar features for the market: large icons, text in large characters, remote access for family members and also an SOS button with geolocalisation. But it also incorporates a digital magnifier, enabling the user to roll the phone over text to facilitate reading, for example. The phone is rich in voice command functions, too, allowing the user to avoid fiddly buttons. “Seniors today are used to having access to technology. As they get older they will want access to the same functions, the same technologies,” Hekimian said. Kapsys estimated the potential market for the telephone at 600 million people, he said. “Our goal is to capture one percent of that market by 2015.” — AFP

when the central bank intends to slow down or stop its bond-buying programme. Financial markets were rattled last week when minutes of the Fed’s January meeting showed some officials were thinking of scaling back its monetary stimulus earlier than expected. Also of concern to many is the darkening outlook for global growth, with sharp budget cuts due to take effect in the United States on Friday, and weak data from China revealing a growing slowdown in its export-oriented manufacturing sector. The uncertainty has led to a sharp rise in volatility, with the CBOE’s widely watched Vix Index jumping 34 percent on Monday for its biggest one day gain since August 2011. Europe’s equivalent index, the VSTOXX, which reflects options pricing and demand to protect against falls in the underlying cash market, rose 15 percent yesterday to hit a new year’s high of 24.73. — Reuters

BARCELONA: A hostess plunges a new smartphone “Ascend D2” by Huawei into water at the 2013 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona yesterday. — AFP

DUBAI: Dubai’s bourse made its largest one-day loss in three weeks yesterday as its heaviest stock Emaar Properties dropped on lower-than-expected dividend distribution, while most other regional markets also retreated. Shares in Emaar fell 2.8 percent to 5.14 dirhams, down from the previous session’s 51-month high. The developer proposed a 2012 cash dividend of 10 fils, similar to that of 2011 and 2010. The stock had rallied in recent weeks partly on hopes of a higher dividend payout. “From a technical point of view we have all the negative divergences we need to doubt the share will move on from here,” said Nabil Al-Rantisi, managing director at Menacorp in Abu Dhabi. “We have no reversal patterns yet but 5.35 is a major target. From a fundamental view we are more or less around the fair value of Emaar.” Emaar’s performance triggered selling in other UAE stocks as well. National Central Cooling (Tabreed) lost 3.1 percent, builder Arabtec shed 2.3 percent and Dubai Financial Market cut 1.6 percent. The emirate’s index slipped 1 percent in its largest daily loss since Feb 3. Heavyweights led declines on Abu Dhabi’s bourse, which also lost 1 percent, easing away from Monday’s 39-month closing high. First Gulf Bank and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank fell 1.5 and 2.5 percent respectively. Telecom operator Etisalat dipped 1 percent. In Saudi Arabia, petrochemical stocks led declines on the bourse as worries over demand growth hit oil prices after inconclusive election results in Italy. Investors fear a resurgence of the euro zone debt crisis. Saudi petrochemical stocks tend to track oil prices, with crude impacting their bottom line. Shares in Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), the world’s largest chemicals firm, dropped 1.4 percent. Yanbu National Petrochemical shed 1.5 percent and Saudi Kayan Petrochemical lost 0.9 percent. Most other sectors also declined. The banking shares index slipped 0.7 percent. The kingdom’s index dropped 0.7 percent to a three-week low. In Qatar, the market recorded losses for a fourth consecutive session, losing 0.9 percent, as investors reacted to dividend news and payouts. —Reuters



Poor families beat eviction in Spain Spain banks issue 350,000 eviction orders

BAMAKO: Skulls of dead animals are displayed at Bamako’s market place. — AFP

Except for gris-gris men, Mali crisis hurts market BAMAKO: Adama Kamara’s market stand is neatly stacked with piles of dead animals he promises will change your life: parakeets to help you find a job, dog skulls to cure headaches, crocodile heads to make you better in bed. Kamara is a gris-gris man, a seller of traditional west African remedies and charms, and he and his colleagues appear to be the only ones doing a solid business at this market in central Bamako, the Malian capital, as the long conflict rending the country’s north takes a toll on the economy. “The crisis in the north, that hasn’t really hit us here,” says Kamara between explanations of the powers of each dried-out, halfpreser ved species. “People buy these things when they have a problem, and lots of people have problems now,” he shrugs. That is a glowing business report compared to many of the market’s vendors, who say they have plenty of problems of their own. Nearby is a section where artisans make and sell jewellery, clothing, fabrics and other arts and crafts. The area was popular with the small but steady stream of tourists who came to Mali to visit destinations like Timbuktu, the fabled caravan city at the edge of the Sahara, and Dogon country, a dramatic cliff-side landscape whose people are known for their traditional mask dances and intricately designed doors. But tourism evaporated when Al-Qaedalinked extremists seized control of the north in the chaotic aftermath of a March 2012 military coup. Tourism ministry officials say tourist arrivals have fallen from about 250,000 a year before the crisis to almost zero. And while French-led forces have now pushed the Islamists from the cities they controlled, including Timbuktu, ongoing suicide bombings, land mine explosions and guerrilla attacks in reclaimed territory mean Mali is likely to remain a tourist nogo for some time. “There aren’t enough clients because of the crisis,” says Moussa Yattassaye, who produces brightly coloured leather sandals at a small workshop inside the artisan market. Aboubacar Camara, who makes a muddyed cloth called bogolan and is the spokesman for the Young Artisans’ Association, says members’ sales are down more than 95 percent. “Before, we could sell 300,000 to 400,000 CFA francs (450 to 600 euros, $600 to $800) per week,” he says. “As soon as you finished with an American, a Frenchman would come. You finish with him, you see someone else from a different nationality.”

“Now we don’t even see them. We only see journalists,” he adds. “Because of armed bandits and hooligans, a bunch of tramps without jobs... we don’t even manage to sell 50,000 CFA francs ($100, 80 euros) a month.” Camara, 30, says he worries Mali will struggle to restore its tourism industry. “This destabilises the image of Mali abroad. Right now all the people who believed in Mali, who said Mali is a welcoming, peaceful, democratic country, now we’re really disappointed because those countries are going to see that what they were saying, in reality it’s not true,” he says. “These terrorist bandits... came and dirtied Mali’s name.” Visa to America or Europe Korotoumo Daou, who sells beauty products from a small table by the street, says her business has also been damaged. “Things started to get difficult not long after the coup d’etat. After that people stopped buying as many things,” says the 27-year-old. “It’s getting a little better now since the French intervention, but it’s still hard for us market women.” At the fabric stand next door, Safiatou Sidibe agrees and says she plans to leave for neighbouring Ivory Coast in April. “The crisis has been very bad for sales,” she says. “People used to come from the north and buy things to take back there and sell, but they don’t anymore because of the fighting,” adds the 30-year-old. “Me, I am leaving for Ivory Coast in two months.” Mali was already one of the poorest countries in the world before the crisis, and its economy shrank an estimated 4.5 percent last year, according to the International Monetary Fund-a painful contraction after a decade of 5.7-percent average annual growth up to 2010. The crashing economy is exacerbating the country ’s instability and adding momentum to the stream of refugees flowing out of the country, who the United Nations says number more than 150,000. Gris-gris man Soumaila Kouyate, who works next to Kamara, says the most expensive item at his stall-and the one most in demand at the moment-is a horse’s skull. At 20,000 CFA francs ($40, 30 euros), it costs 20 times more than the parakeet corpse you grind up and drink to find work, and eight times more than the dog’s skull you pulverise and rub on yourself to cure headaches. What does it do? “You write God’s name on a piece of paper and put it in the horse’s mouth,” he says. “Then you dip it in water and you get a visa for America or Europe.” — AFP

MADRID: The walls of the apartment are cracked and patched with damp, but the faded family photographs of Maria Luisa Brana, her husband and their four children, are still hanging. Eight months ago the five of them-all jobless, like millions in Spain’s recession-faced being thrown out for failing to pay their mortgage. Unlike many families, they have beaten the odds. With legal help from the PAH, a citizen protest movement fighting against a wave of evictions across Spain, they managed to get their order to leave cancelled. “No one else would listen to me. You feel powerless. At the same time you know that you owe that money and you feel guilty,” said Maria Luisa, a 52-yearold with grey hair and a piercing gaze. The campaign provided legal support and persuaded the bank to let the family stay in their home and pay rent. Maria Luisa bought the apartment in Villaverde, a working class suburb of Madrid, in 2005 during Spain’s building boom. Three years later, when the boom went bust, the family was all unemployed and Maria Luisa had 140,000 euros ($185,000) of debt. Their home was seized by the bank. She recalls the “shame and anger” she felt as she and her husband, an unemployed cook, and all her grown-up children feared ending up in the street. “I am not a delinquent,” said Maria Luisa, a former food-handler. “I didn’t pay because I was poor.” Like many homeowners facing eviction in Spain, she turned in desperation to the citizen-run Platform for Mortgage Victims (PAH). She now lives on unemployment benefits of 420 euros a month, “plus what my father-inlaw gives,” she told AFP. The family pays a social housing rate of 350 euros a month secured for them by the PAH, with the right to inhabit the apartment for seven years. “It’s still not much relief. If I get one month behind with the rent, they’ll take the apartment,” she said. Economic worries aside, she had a heart attack a few weeks ago. Under current Spanish law, a bank can pursue a borrower for the remaining balance of a loan if the value of the seized property does not cover it. “Spain has one of the most unjust laws, which leaves people totally unprotected with their mortgage,” said Ada Colau, a spokeswoman for the PAH. “People did not get into debt on a whim,” but were encouraged to by public policies that tolerated banks offering easy loans during the construction boom, she said. Judicial authorities say banks in Spain have

issued 350,000 eviction orders against private or commercial mortgage-holders since 2008. About half are estimated to have been carried out, according to media reports. PAH this month succeeded in getting parliament to consider a new law, backed by a petition with 1.4 million signatures, to end evictions and let insolvent homeowners write off their debts by surrendering their homes. Over the past four years the movement has campaigned by turning up in crowds outside the homes of evictees and sitting on their doorsteps to try to stop police and bailiffs throwing them out. It says it has blocked nearly 600 evictions-in various cases, like the Branas’, securing a deal for them to stay and pay rent. Joining the rebellion, unions of locksmiths and firemen have started refusing to help bailiffs open the insolvent

homeowners’ doors. “We were leaving families with children in the street. We ended up acting as executioners,” David Ormaechea, president of the Locksmiths Union, told AFP. This month in the northwestern city of A Coruna, firefighters were called to help evict an 85-year-old woman who had defaulted on her rent. A crowd of protestors gathered outside the apartment to block the eviction. When the firefighters arrived they refused to open the door and some of them joined in the protest. Fire brigades in other regions have since followed their example. “The only thing we do is help citizens,” said Pedro Campos, a fireman in Madrid. “We only enter a home when there is danger inside. Getting a woman of 85 out of her home is not a situation of danger.” — AFP

HOSPITALET DE LLOBREGAT: This file picture shows Mireia (left), 3, and Maria Pau (right), 5, taking part in a protest organized by the “Stop deshaucios” (Stop evictions) association against the eviction of an Ecuatorian family with two daughters aged 6 and 9 years-old from their house in Hospiatalet de Llobregat, near Barcelona. — AFP

Turkish lira, shares down ISTANBUL: Turkish shares and the lira weakened yesterday as investors sold riskier assets after the central bank cut rates and an indecisive Italian election fuelled fears of political instability, while bond yields were flat. Turkey’s central bank cut its overnight lending and borrowing rates by 25 basis points on Feb. 19 to prevent speculative capital inflows from boosting the lira currency too sharply. Italy faced a political vacuum after a huge protest vote left no party or likely coalition with enough seats to form a majority in the upper house. The stalemate could hamper the reforms financial markets believe are needed to tackle the economic problems of the euro-zone’s third-largest economy. By 0816 GMT, the lira

was at 1.8111 to the dollar , after earlier hitting its weakest level since mid-October of 1.8148, down from 1.8010 late on Monday. Against its euro-dollar basket it firmed to 2.0883, from 2.0927. Investors are also monitoring Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony to Congress yesterday and Wednesday, in which he is expected to downplay the idea that the central bank could prematurely end its massive monthly bond-buying programme. “The weakening of the lira started when the central bank cut its rates. The elections in Italy accelerated this trend,” said Tufan Comert, strategist at Garanti Securities. “However, if Bernanke’s speech this evening

calms the markets, we can see the lira strengthening against the dollar following the rise in the euro-dollar exchange rate,” he added. Istanbul’s main share index was down 0.7 percent at 76,134 points, outperforming a fall of 1.04 percent in the global emerging markets index. Turkey’s Competition Board will continue its meeting with a dozen banks yesterday to hear their defence for alleged collusion in setting loan rates, with a final verdict due within 15 days.Analysts at Oyak Securities said the board’s investigation was also a source of concern for investors. The yield on the twoyear benchmark bond was flat at 5.73 percent. — AFP

EXCHANGE RATES Irani Riyal - cash

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

.275000 .432000 .375000 .303000 .276000 .29000 .0040000 .0020000 .0764330 .7446660 .3900000 .0720000 .7300130 .0420000

CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES US Dollar/KD .2815500 GB Pound/KD .4347270 Euro .3776290 Swiss francs .3054180 Canadian dollars .2782530 Danish Kroner .0506220 Swedish Kroner .0446790 Australian dlr .2915730 Hong Kong dlr .0363070 Singapore dlr .2277080 Japanese yen .0030130 Indian Rs/KD .0000000 Sri Lanka rupee .0000000 Pakistan rupee .0000000 Bangladesh taka .0000000 UAE dirhams .0766850 Bahraini dinars .7471140 Jordanian dinar .0000000 Saudi Riyal/KD .0751000 Omani riyals .7315840 Philippine Peso .0000000

Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. Japanese Yen Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Srilankan Rupees Nepali Rupees Singapore Dollar Hongkong Dollar Bangladesh Taka Philippine Peso Thai Baht Irani Riyal - transfer

ASIAN COUNTRIES 3.024 5.216 2.883 2.224 3.272 229.220 36.519 3.572 6.967 9.478 0.271

.2840000 .444000 .384000 .3150000 .288000 .3000000 .0067500 .0035000 .0772010 .7521510 .4050000 .0760000 .7373500 .0470000 .2836500 .4379700 .3804460 .3076960 .2803280 .0509990 .0450120 .2937480 .0365780 .2294070 .0030350 .0052770 .0022340 .0028990 .0036070 .0772570 .7526870 .4012020 .0756600 .7370400 .0070360


Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd

GCC COUNTRIES 75.550 77.845 735.870 752.490 77.145

Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

ARAB COUNTRIES Egyptian Pound - Cash 42.100 Egyptian Pound - Transfer 41.980 Yemen Riyal/for 1000 1.322 Tunisian Dinar 182.710 Jordanian Dinar 400.080 Lebanese Lira/for 1000 1.901 Syrian Lier 3.078 Morocco Dirham 34.327 EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 283.200 Euro 379.490 Sterling Pound 439.530 Canadian dollar 281.370 Swiss Franc 307.830 US Dollar Buying 282.000 GOLD 311.000 157.000 81.500

20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

SELL DRAFT 295.99 281.47 310.07 378.12 283.10 432.57 3.08 3.604 5.243 2.224 3.280 2.891 77.15 753.79 41.49 403.32 736.79 78.18 75.49

Selling Rate 282.700 282.920 438.490 379.575 307.340 748.445 76.945 77.600 75.350 398.510 41.945 2.214 5.228 2.875 3.564 6.952 693.470 4.030 9.540 3.980 3.350 91.180

Bahrain Exchange Company CURRENCY

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

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

SELL CASH 295.000 288.000 311.000 379.800 283.500 445.000 3.150 3.750 5.350 2.520 3.450 2.860 77.500 750.800 42.500 409.500 734.000 78.500 75.900

British Pound Czech Korune Danish Krone Euro Norwegian Krone Scottish Pound Swedish Krona Swiss Franc Australian Dollar New Zealand Dollar Uganda Shilling Canadian Dollar Colombian Peso US Dollars Bangladesh Taka Cape Vrde Escudo Chinese Yuan Eritrea-Nakfa

BUY Europe 0.426013 0.006090 0.046124 0.369957 0.046035 0.424048 0.040181 0.300337

SELL 0.435013 0.018090 0.051124 0.377457 0.051235 0.431548 0.045181 0.307337

Australasia 0.283254 0.229746 0.000109

0.295254 0.239746 0.000109

America 0.271056 0.000148 0.281550

0.280056 0.000166 0.283700

Asia 0.003549 0.003146 0.044604 0.016380

0.003604 0.003376 0.049604 0.019480

Guinea Franc Hong Kong Dollar Indian Rupee Indonesian Rupiah Jamaican Dollars Japanese Yen Kenyan Shilling Malaysian Ringgit Nepalese Rupee Pakistan Rupee Philippine Peso Sierra Leone Singapore Dollar Sri Lankan Rupee Thai Baht

0.000044 0.034030 0.005160 0.000024 0.002832 0.002955 0.003176 0.087398 0.003117 0.002863 0.006508 0.000072 0.225219 0.001923 0.009113

0.000050 0.037130 0.005230 0.000029 0.003832 0.003135 0.003408 0.094398 0.003317 0.002803 0.006978 0.000075 0.231219 0.002228 0.009713

Bahraini Dinar Egyptian Pound Ethiopeanbirr Ghanaian Cedi Iranian Riyal Iraqi Dinar Jordanian Dinar Kuwaiti Dinar Lebanese Pound Moroccan Dirhams Nigerian Naira Omani Riyal Qatar Riyal Saudi Riyal Sudanese Pounds Syrian Pound Tunisian Dinar UAE Dirhams Yemeni Riyal

Arab 0.746094 0.039525 0.012962 0.147671 0.000079 0.000185 0.394568 1.000000 0.000174 0.021976 0.001203 0.7235871 0.077270 0.075120 0.049824 0.003165 0.180301 0.075814 0.001280

0.754594 0.041555 0.019462 0.149461 0.000079 0.000245 0.402086 1.000000 0.000194 0.045976 0.001838 0.736871 0.078053 O.075760 0.050374 0.003385 0.186301 0.077264 0.001380

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) 283.100 373.000 433.000 278.650 3.110 5.236 41.525 2.221 3.583 6.950 2.889 753.800 77.100 75.600



Obama set to highlight cuts impact in shipyard

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama will paint a devastating picture of looming government budget cuts, at a fabled shipbuilding yard in Virginia that provides the US Navy’s nuclear powered aircraft carriers. The trip will intensify the president’s effort to hike pressure on Republicans to agree on tax increases to avert $85 billion in automatic spending cuts this year, which experts warn could stagger the fragile economy. The White House said the cuts, known as “the sequester ” which are due to hit on March 1, would see 90,000 civilian defense workers furloughed in Virginia alone and would hurt companies in 50

states that supply shipbuilders. An official said that the cuts would also delay the maintenance of 11 ships in Norfolk, Virginia, as the administration argues that the sequester would badly impact US defense readiness. Obama will argue “that the only reason these cuts will take place is if congressional Republicans choose to protect loopholes only enjoyed by the wealthiest and big corporations at the expense of jobs in Virginia,” the official said. Newport News Shipbuilding, which Obama will visit, is building the new generation of Gerald R. Ford class nuclear powered aircraft carriers, and also supplies nuclear submarines to the

US navy. On Monday, the White House warned of a “perfect storm” of airport delays and less secure US borders when the cuts happen, but top Republicans accused Obama of using “scare” tactics. Officials also laid out a daunting state-by-state list of possible sequester impacts, foreseeing teacher layoffs, funding crunches for emergency workers, air traffic delays and overtime bans for public sector employees. The idea for the automatic, arbitrary budget cuts emerged as a way to ease a previous spending showdown between Obama and Republicans in Congress. The massive reductions to the military and domestic budget were sup-

posed to be so severe that both sides would be forced into a deal to cut the deficit. But Washington is so dysfunctional that no agreement has been reached. The president wants congressional Republicans to help stave off the cuts by closing tax loopholes he believes benefits the rich and corporations, and to carry out a program of targeted spending cuts. Many Republicans agree that the sequester is a bad way to trim the budget and reduce the deficit, but they argue that Obama is not serious about reining in spending so does not deserve more revenue. There seems little prospect that Washington’s feuding politicians will

agree to halt the sequester before it comes into force. The first point of possible compromise may then come with a bill due at the end of March to fund the government’s operations. Republican Senator John McCain predicted on Monday that there would be more incentive for lawmakers to fix the problem once the cuts hit. “I think the forcing mechanism, if there’s going to be one, it’ll be the job losses and the warnings and the military,” he said. “What we’re doing to the men and women in the military is just disgraceful. They don’t know what their future is. They don’t know where they’re going to be next week.” —AFP

Abe’s BOJ nominees hint split views for split board

Kuroda, Iwata have different approaches to policy

SEOUL: In this file photo, South Korean models pose with a CINEMA 3D Smart TV during a press conference to introduce the LG Electronics’ television and the company’s marketing strategy for 2012. — AP

HP parts with webOS in LG Electronics deal SAN FRANCISCO: Hewlett-Packard is selling its webOS software to South Korean electronics company LG Electronics, securing a new home for a technological orphan. The deal announced Monday rids HP of the centerpiece of its ill-fated, $1.8 billion purchase of Palm Inc three years ago. HP used webOS as its springboard into the smartphone and tablet computer market in 2011, but quickly scrapped the mobile devices running on the software amid disappointing sales. With that retreat, HewlettPackard Co. stopped developing webOS for its own products and gave away the underlying technology as open-source software for programmers elsewhere to modify for their own needs. LG Electronics has grander plans for webOS. Initially, the software will be melded into a new line of Internet-connected televisions from LG Electronics Inc. If those are successful, LG Electronics is considering selling household appliances and other devices that run on webOS in an attempt to create a so-called “smart” home. That’s a concept that could appeal to a generation of consumers who wouldn’t consider leaving their homes without their smartphones. In a sign of its commitment to webOS, LG Electronics is also acquiring the team of engineers who had been working on the software for HP. The precise number of HP workers transferring to LG Electronics wasn’t disclosed. The affected employees currently work in San Francisco and Palm’s former Sunnyvale, Calif. headquarters, and will remain based in those cities, according to LG Electronics. It still hasn’t been determined if LG Electronics will take control of the employees’ current offices or move them to other locations in the same cities. The opportunity to pick up a pool of talented software programmers and gain con-

trol over the core of webOS were the main reasons LG Electronics wanted to do the deal instead of simply relying on the free open-source project, LG Electronics spokesman John Taylor said. Financial terms of the webOS sale weren’t disclosed. It’s unlikely that LG Electronics had to pay much, given that HP had already absorbed $1.6 billion in charges to account for the diminished value of Palm and other costs caused by its decision to stop making webOS devices. HP, which is based in Palo Alto, is in the process of eliminating 29,000 jobs in an effort to cut costs amid a slump that has seen its revenue falling for the past 18 months. Through January, HP had jettisoned more than 15,000 of the jobs targeted in its streamlining. HP is still holding on to some vestiges of its Palm acquisition. Among other things, HP retains ownership of other computing coding outside webOS, along with Palm’s hardware and Palm’s customer contracts. HP will also continue to employ former Palm employees who weren’t involved in webOS and will continue to handle customer support for people who still use Palm products made in the past. Besides getting webOS’ source code and other key parts of the technology, LG Electronics will take over stewardship of the open-software project. HP is jettisoning webOS just as the company is gearing up to introduce a new tablet that features a 7inch screen and will sell for just $169. The upcoming device, called Slate 7, will run on the popular Android software made by Google Inc. It will supplement a more sophisticated and expensive tablet computer designed primarily for business users. That tablet runs on Windows 8, a recently released makeover of Microsoft’s ubiquitous operating system. HP’s stock fell 13 cents to close at $19.07. — AP

With signs that economy could stumble, gold rises NEW YORK: Potential bad news about the economy was good news for the price of gold and other metals on Monday. Many investors plow money into gold when they’re worried about the economy, and the day brought several points to worry about. In Italy, which was counting election results, prospects for political stalemate were strong as center-left and center-right parties wrestled for control of Parliament. In Great Britain, investors struggled to digest the unwelcome news that Moody’s, late Friday, had stripped the country of its triple -A credit rating. In the U.S., investors were waiting for Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, to testify to Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday about the state of the economy. Investors will be watching for any indication of how long the Fed plans to keep buying bonds to stimulate the economy. That ’s impor tant to gold prices because the bond-buying can cause inflation, and some investors like to buy gold to protect themselves against inflation. So if Bernanke says the bond buying will continue, gold prices will probably keep rising. On Monday, gold for April delivery rose nearly 1 percent, up $13.80 to $1,586.60 per ounce. May silver was up nearly 2 percent, rising 52.7 cents to $29.047 per ounce. Analysts at Kitco predicted a volatile week for gold. “Be prepared for swift and abrupt moves as the market becomes one of interpretation in the short term,” Peter Hug, global trading director, wrote in a note

to clients. Other key metals were also up, even as US stocks fell. May copper edged up 1.05 cents to $3.561 a pound. June palladium rose nearly 2 percent, $14, to $751.50 per ounce. April platinum was up almost 1 percent, $13.30, to $1,620.70 an ounce. Industrial metals, however, are tied more directly to how traders feel about the economy - they tend to rise when hopes about the economy do too. And George Gero, at RBC Wealth Management, said he wasn’t sure how long their climb would last. “We still understand that European trade consumers are living hand to mouth,” Gero wrote in a note to clients, “and uncertainty still remains as to the growth prospects in China.” A survey released in China showed that manufacturing fell to a four-month low in Februar y. Oil was little changed. Benchmark crude fell 2 cents to $93.11 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude was up 34 cents to $114.44. Traders will be watching talks that begin this week over Iran’s nuclear program, which can affect the country’s oil output. I n other energy futures trading, wholesale gasoline was unchanged at $3.26 a gallon. Heating oil fell less than 1 cent to $3.10 a gallon. Natural gas rose 12 cents to $3.41 per 1,000 cubic feet. Agricultural commodities were mixed. Wheat fell nearly 2 percent, down 13.5 cents to $7.0525 per bushel. Corn was up 3.25 cents to $6.935 per bushel. S oybeans fell 8.5 cents to $14.3525. — AP

TOKYO: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is seeking to put at the top of the Bank of Japan two officials with different views on how to beat deflation, which could complicate decision-making in an already split board as it eyes a drastic make-over of monetary policy. The new leadership, if nominated and approved by parliament, will join a board dominated by advocates of more stimulus, increasing the chances the BOJ will ease again at its first rate review next month and possibly more frequently down the road. Abe is likely to nominate Asian Development Bank President Haruhiko Kuroda as the next governor, sources have said. The government is also lining up Kikuo Iwata, an academic, and BOJ Executive Director Hiroshi Nakaso, who now oversees the central bank’s international operations, as deputy governors. At first glance, the expected new team is a balanced one with a governor with strong international contacts, an academic sharing the premier’s calls for unorthodox stimulus as deputy and a conservative central banker taking the other deputy’s post. But they differ on what approach to take on monetary policy and face a board that is also split on how to proceed to revive growth. That is likely to test the new governor’s leadership and may delay any radical change in the way the central bank sets policy. “There’s a gap in how Kuroda and Iwata approach the means for monetary easing,” said Yasunari Ueno, chief market economist at Mizuho Securities in Tokyo. “Markets will be focusing on how they would mend this gap.” The Bank of Japan, like the US Federal Reserve, has been forced to adopt unorthodox policy measures after cutting interest rates the usual policy tool for central banks - close to zero. The BOJ has had an asset-buying programme since 2010 to pump cash into the economy, but with little apparent success in defeating years of deflation. Abe has pushed the central bank to be more radical. Kuroda sides with a “credit easing” approach to policy, in which central banks funnel money directly into credit markets, such as corporate bonds or exchange traded funds (ETFs), to nudge up asset prices and encourage investors into taking on more risk. Iwata prefers expanding Japan’s monetary base by boosting purchases of longer-dated government bonds, instead of risky assets. The central bank currently buys bonds with up to a three-year maturity. He belongs to a camp of academics who advocate quantitative easing, a policy of pumping money into the economy through government bond purchases, and believes that deflation can be overcome by flooding markets with cash. The other expected deputy, Nakaso, is not expected to feature so heavily in setting policy, although his experience will be vital in understanding the inner workings of the BOJ and other central banks. “Regime change” The BOJ’s asset-buying and lending programme already combines credit and quantita-

TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gestures as he answers a question at the Upper House’s budget committee session at the National Diet yesterday. — AP tive easing. It targets both government bonds and riskier assets such as corporate bonds, commercial paper, ETFs and real estate trust funds (REIT). The BOJ has agreed to pump 101 trillion yen ($1 trillion) into the economy this year, but in January said it would adopt an “open ended” policy from 2014 of buying 2 trillion in government bonds and 11 trillion of other assets each month to push cash into the economy to achieve its 2 percent inflation target. Now to underline a more aggressive policy, Kuroda and Iwata must agree on the balance between a credit risk approach and expanding bond purchases. Kuroda said this month there are several hundred trillion yen wor th of domestic financial assets the BOJ could buy to expand its programme, but reflationary experts suggest only government bonds provide the scale needed to revive the economy. Down the road, the two also need to debate whether to stick to the asset-buying programme, or seek a new way to pump money into the economy in order to show the central bank has embarked on a “regime change” as demanded by Abe. “If the new leadership isn’t content with an increase in the programme, the BOJ would have to come up with something new,” said an official with knowledge of the central bank’s thinking. In reality, the BOJ is likely to steer more toward Iwata’s approach of increasing the amount of government bonds it buys because boosting purchases of risky assets would expose the central bank’s balance sheet to potential losses, something many board members are reluctant to do, say officials with similar knowledge. The BOJ sees limited room to diversify the type of risky assets the bank buys beyond what it already accepts under the

asset-buying programme, arguing that other credit markets are too small in Japan for the BOJ to be able to make regular purchases that would have a broad impact on the economy. “ There may be several ways to make it appear the BOJ is doing something new. But in the end, what it can do is expand purchases of government bonds and possibly ETFs,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter. Beyond their own differences, Kuroda and Iwata will face the challenge of reaching a consensus in a board divided on the bank’s next move. Some want to go down the route of aggressive bond purchases, while others see limits to expanding these purchases when yields are so low. Five-year bond yields, for example, are at a record low. Unlike the other candidates, including former deputy BOJ governors Kazumasa Iwata and Toshiro Muto, both Kuroda and Kikuo Iwata have no direct experience guiding monetary policy. That means they would lean more on the BOJ bureaucrats to come up with new ideas, analysts say. Central bank bureaucrats are brain-storming various ideas but most of them are still in the early stages and won’t be firmed up until the new BOJ leadership is confirmed and its policy stance becomes clearer. Among the options central bank bureaucrats consider as realistic in the near term are extending the duration of government bonds the BOJ buys beyond three-year maturities, and beginning open-ended asset purchases earlier than 2014. “Anything the BOJ can do immediately would be an extension of its current policy framework,” said Mari Iwashita, chief market economist at SMBC Nikko Securities in Tokyo, pointing to a further increase in bond purchases as the likely next option. — Reuters

Email, voicemail, text; no response. What gives? CHICAGO: Technology is supposed to make us easier to reach, and often does. But the same modes of communication that have hooked us on the instant reply also can leave us feeling forgotten. We send an email, a text or an instant chat message. We wait - and nothing happens. Or we make a phone call. Leave a voicemail message. Wait. Again, nothing. We tend to assume it’s a snub, and sometimes it is. Erica Swallow, a 26year-old New Yorker, says she’s heard a former boyfriend brag about how many text messages he never reads. “Who does that?” she asks, exasper-

atedly. These days, though, no response can mean a lot of things. Maybe some people don’t see messages because they prefer email and you like Twitter. Maybe we’re just plain overwhelmed, and can’t keep up with the constant barrage of communication. Whatever the reason, it’s causing a lot of frustration. A recent survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 39 percent of cell phone owners say people they know complain because they don’t respond promptly to phone calls or text messages. A third of cell owners

CHICAGO: In this photo, Mahrinah von Schlegel, managing director of Cibola, an incubator for tech entrepreneurs that will open this spring, sits at her computer at her office in Chicago. — AP

also have been told they don’t check their phones frequently enough. It happens in love. It happens in business. “Tell me to go to hell, but just tell me something! I’m getting lonely over here.” That’s what Cherie Kerr, a public relations executive in Santa Ana, Calif., jokes she’s considered putting after her email signature. It happens in families. Last year, Terri Barr, a woman on Long Island, NY, with grown children, sent her son a birthday present - a $350 gift certificate for “a wonderful kayaking trip for six, lunch, equipment,” she says. She sent him an email with the details, but he didn’t respond. She says she then telephoned and texted him to tell him it was a present. He eventually sent a one-line email, she says, telling her he was too swamped to open her email gift right then. Instant communication “can be wonderful - but also terrible,” says Barr, who shared the story more as a lament of modern communication than a reprimand of her son, whose busy work life, she acknowledged, often takes him overseas. So this year, she sent him a birthday gift by snail-mail in a box. “He actually opened it,” she says, and they’ve been talking more frequently since then. Many other people, though, sit waiting for responses that never come.”That’s where the frustration lies - it’s in the ambiguity,”

says Susannah Stern, a professor of communication studies at San Diego State University. Though we often assume the worst, experts say we shouldn’t. Frequently, they say, people simply - and unknowingly choose the wrong way to contact someone. “I admit to having often been lax with checking my work number voicemail, which has led to me not responding to people waiting for my reply,” says Janet Sternberg, an assistant professor of communication and media studies at Fordham University. She’s also had technical glitches. For instance: thinking she’d sent a text message to someone overseas and then, when he didn’t respond, realizing she had his international number programmed incorrectly in her phone. “The sheer management of all these devices and channels is exhausting and sometimes daunting, leaving less and less time for actual communication,” Sternberg says. “We connect more but communicate less, in many ways.” That’s why many people say they have no choice but to prioritize and to respond only to the most urgent messages. That describes Mahrinah von Schlegel, who’s working to launch a Chicago-based “incubator” that will offer shared office space and other resources for fledgling tech entrepreneurs.—AP



Indonesian MPs to review finance minister’s switch to central bank JAKARTA: Indonesia’s parliament said yesterday a 52-member commission would review the nomination of the country’s finance minister to become head of the central bank, though some MPs have already questioned whether he is the right man for the job. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono nominated Agus Martowardojo for the position late last week but has given no reason why he did not want to renew the term of the current governor, nor why he wanted to move his finance minister out of the cabinet. “We have received a letter from the President and it will be submitted to the Commission 11 (for financial affairs) for a fit and proper test,” parliamentary Speaker, Marzuki Alie, said in a statement. The commission has the final say over who heads the central bank. The term of the current governor, Darmin Nasution, ends in May. Some members of the commission have already made public their doubts over Martowardojo’s suitability to lead Bank Indonesia (BI). One said the career banker lacked macro-economic expertise and another that there were doubts over his integrity. But chairman of the commission, Emir Moeis, said he was in favour of the move. Martowardojo, 57, took over as finance minister in 2010 to oversee one of the world’s fastest growing economies and before that headed the biggest state-controlled bank, Bank Mandiri. “Personally, I think (he) ... is the best candidate to be nominated,” Moeis told reporters. But he added that his party, the opposition Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle (PDI-P) had yet to decide. To secure the position, Martowardojo

will need to support of the main ruling coalition parties, including Golkar, whose chairman’s company has been at odds with the finance minister over the purchase of shares in a major mining company. He has also had run-ins with other powerful business interests, though it is unclear whether that has lost him favour with the president. Yudhoyono has been criticised in the past for not providing enough political protection for some of his technocrat ministers. Martowardojo’s predecessor, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, quit the job after relentless criticism from top businessmen, upset by her tough approach on governance in a country which is ranked among the world’s most corrupt. Riswinandi, deputy head of Bank Mandiri, which Martowardojo used to head, welcomed the stand that the finance minister has taken with neighbouring Singapore, whose DBS Group Holdings almost a year ago agreed to take over Indonesia’s Bank Danamon. The cash-and-shares transaction would rank as Asia’s fourth-largest banking deal, but it is uncertain whether the Indonesian government will let the deal go through. In his first public comments since being nominated for the central bank job, Martowardojo said that reciprocity was a key issue in the deal, suggesting that it would not win approval unless Singapore allows Indonesian banks to set up full bank branches. Singapore is a hugely attractive place for Indonesian banks to operate in, as it is a major channel for funds from Southeast Asian’s biggest economy, and there are a large number of migrantIndonesia workers in Singapore. — Reuters

FREMONT: Shinya Fujimoto uses an Electric Vehicle charger for his Nissan Leaf that is installed in his Fremont, California, home. — MCT

Electric-vehicle drivers outfit homes with special chargers NEW YORK: Fremont, Calif, resident Shinya Fujimoto bought his Nissan Leaf during heady times for electric-vehicle fans. It was spring 2011, when there was so much anticipation over a shipment of these allelectric vehicles from Japan to the West Coast that someone climbed aboard a chopper, shot photos of the cars on shipboard on their way to Southern California and posted them on a blog popular among plug-in vehicle owners. “ These people were crazy,” said Fujimoto, who admits to being such an enthusiast that he keeps Excel spreadsheets to illustrate the savings his Leaf has brought over the gasoline-powered vehicle he drove before. (It’s been about $100 to $150 per month, he said.) When Fujimoto’s shiny baby-blue Nissan finally arrived in July 2011 - after delays caused by Japan’s tsunami - he already had a key piece of equipment waiting for it: a home charging station. “I wanted to make sure I got it before I got the car,” said Fujimoto. His 240-volt Blink-manufactured station was installed a month before the car arrived. Technically speaking, the charger itself is in the vehicle, and the plug-in station designed to deliver the charge most efficiently is known as the Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment, or EVSE. Generally, electric vehicles, or EVs, can be charged by plugging in the car’s charging cable to a regular household outlet, which in most cases delivers about 120 volts. But EV owners refer to the juice flowing through such “Level 1” stations as a “trickle charge.” A Level 1 power source takes up to 21 hours for a Nissan Leaf, for example, to go from zero to a full charge. A preferred Level 2 AC charger, which delivers from 208 to 240 volts, takes eight hours or less. That is why an EVSE that is more efficient than a level 1 outlet is found in more and more homes of EV owners. In general, preparing a home for a charging station is as simple as wiring the residence to power a clothes dryer, said Jason Smith, San Francisco regional sales manager for ECOtality. His company oversees the EV

Project, which installs chargers for free to qualifying Leaf and Chevrolet Volt owners in some parts of the country. Level 2 EV chargers, he explains, require a 40-amp circuit breaker, which most of today’s homes already have. “The primary consideration is that there is a spare breaker on your main panel,” Smith said. If so, “the installation is quite routine.” He added that the work should be done by a licensed electrician, and the installation requires a permit from the community where the EV driver lives. Older homes may require an electrical system upgrade, adding to the cost. Also, permit costs vary from community to community. These days, you can purchase charging stations at stores such as Lowe’s and Home Depot, as well as at But before selecting a station, EV drivers need to check their owners’ manuals and contact their auto dealers and utility companies to make sure their units are fully compatible with their cars, take full advantage of their charging capabilities and are likely to remain usable in the future, as EVs continue to improve. Boning up on electricity basics may make shopping for a station easier. Those who do so find that voltage refers essentially to how much electricity is available, and amperage to how fast that electricity is delivered. The 2013 Leaf, for example, will have a 24-amp charging capability, upgraded from the 2012 model. So if a driver of the 2013 model were to purchase a 240volt, 16-amp station, the vehicle would charge slower than it could with a 24-amp station. Conversely, an EV with a 16-amp charging capability will charge no faster if attached to a 24-amp station. Stations can also be purchased directly from manufacturers such as Blink, whose Level 2 home model retails for $1,495. Blink’s Level 2 stations are also being installed at workplaces and in public spaces such as parking garages as part of the EV Project. ECOtality has installed a few of Blink’s “Cadillac” charging stations, fast 480-volt DC chargers can deliver a full charge in just 25 minutes. — MCT

BARCELONA: (From left) Matthew Barr (MasterCard), Takashi Komoro (NTT DOCOMO), Edward Hyde (Telecom NZ) and Tan Eng Pheng (IDA Singapore) at the MasterCard Mobile Payments Symposium discussing the future of mobile payment in the Asia-Pacific region at the Mobile World Congress yesterday. — AP

Mobile bills tumble, Europe’s telecoms aim to make data pay Hopes to gain pricing power with 4G could be dashed

BRUSSELS/BARCELONA: European telecoms companies who have watched with dismay while phone bills shrink are hoping new price plans that emphasise data will win back revenue from smartphone and tablet users making fewer calls but spending more time online. Average mobile phone bills in Europe have fallen by 15 percent since 2007, even as they have risen by 25 percent in the United States. European users now spend an average of just 24 euros a month on their mobile phones, according to Sanford Bernstein. Americans spend about two thirds more. But what is good for consumers’ wallets is bad for firms, who grumble that unless they can make Europeans pay higher bills, they won’t have the funds to build fast 4G and fibre broadband networks needed in the tablet and smartphone era. For years, mobile phone operators have made most of their money by charging users for voice call minutes and text messages, perhaps with a mobile data plan thrown in. But voice calls that made up more than 80 percent of revenue in 2007 now account for just 62.6 percent of cash flow for European firms, according to research firm Informa. Meanwhile, data volume is expected to double each year until 2015, according to industry group GSMA. While details differ, European companies are all trying focus monthly charges on the part of their business that is growing - mobile data. But in highly competitive markets, few have yet found a formula to prod consumers to spend more. “We understand better now how to price mobile services and data,” said Gervais Pellissier, France Telecom’s chief financial officer. “But not everything has been sorted out yet.” Firms like Vodafone and Telenor are responding by bundling unlimited

voice and text messages with packages that vary in price based on how much data a customer wants. Others, like France Telecom and Britain’s EE, charge a premium for the fastest 4G data speeds. Eventually, European companies may follow U.S. firms in offering shared data plans, which let individuals and families buy data allowances that they can use on more than one device. Fewer calls, more apps What’s clear is that customers are sending fewer of their messages through the traditional SMS text service, and making fewer of their calls over the voice network. Many are shifting to apps like Skype, What’s App, and Viber or handset makers’ features like Apple’s Facetime and Blackberry’s BBM - which let them communicate for free using their mobile data allowances. “Around 18 months ago we started noticing that people were using more Skype, people were using Viber and What’s App,” Vodafone Chief Executive Vittorio Colao told the Mobile World Congress industry meeting, referring to three apps that let users route phone calls or messages through data plans. “And our SMS revenues started going down. So we asked them why and it was a very simple answer. It was because it was free,” he said. “So we decided to turn the model upside down.” Analysis firm Ovum forecasts that by 2016 global operators will have lost $54 billion in revenues due to the increasing popularity of messaging apps over text messages and phone calls. While losing the battle to charge for minutes and texts, operators in Europe are trying to segment customers based on their data usage, like airlines separate passengers into business and economy class. Users on higher-priced deals of above 60 euros

a month get faster mobile Internet speeds, larger data allotments and extra services like subsidised smartphones. Swisscom has gone further than many by betting that consumers in a wealthy country will pay a big premium for fast data. Its prices are higher than elsewhere on the continent, but it says it has invested in a network that can handle large amounts of data at high speed. Since June 2012, all its offers include unlimited calls, texts and mobile data. Users choose between a plan from 47-136 euros a month, depending on the Internet speed they want. “I see many telecoms operators who no longer believe in their own business and because of that they don’t invest anymore. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy,” Swisscom’s Chief Executive Carsten Schloter said in an interview. “Switzerland is not an island; the willingness to pay for quality also exists in other countries,” he said. To get mobile prices back up, some operators are planning to charge a premium for faster 4G networks. EE, the first to launch 4G in Britain, has chosen to charge higher prices for new service, but has not disclosed how many customers it has won. EE paid 589 million pounds to buy more spectrum to extend its 4G coverage last week, and has promised to invest 1.5 billion over the next three years improving the network.”If you’re not different, if you don’t have network innovation then yes, the only tool that you have is price,” CEO Olaf Swantee told Reuters. “Network differentiation and service differentiation is the way to go for us.” But investors are not convinced that charging premiums for 4G will be a panacea. Customers may come to expect fast data, without wanting to pay extra for it. Hutchison’s Three, a challenger in Britain that offers “all

you can eat data” plans for 25 pounds ($38.81) a month, has already pledged not to charge a premium for 4G when it launches the faster service this year. In Norway, Telenor managed to increase its customers’ monthly bills by 2 percent in 2012 - compared to a 4 percent decline at rival Teliasonera with a plan that squeezes more revenue out of data. The group started a campaign in 2011 to prod users to sign up to the new bundles, which initially decreased the average monthly bill but paid off later. Telenor Norway users on a typical 249 krones ($45.19) contract are limited to a modest 400 megabytes per month, plus calls and texts. Those who want more data have to pay extra. But the firm has not been able to repeat the trick in neighbouring countries where competition is more intense. Telenor’s similarly-priced packages in Denmark are a much better deal for its customers, offering up to 25 times as much data. Shared data coming? European companies are looking across the Atlantic for pricing ideas. US mobile operators Verizon Wireless and AT&T, which share 70 percent of the market, have both introduced shared data plans. Families or individuals buy one mobile subscription with unlimited calls and texts, and get a data allowance that can be used on up to 10 different devices. “Shared data plans have proven to be the winning strategy for data monetisation,” Verizon Wireless Chief Technology Officer Nicola Palmer told Reuters. The US firms found that users were willing to pay more per megabyte of data - and buy more megabytes - because of the extra convenience of using their allowances on multiple devices. Europeans are taking note. — Reuters

Wataniya Telecom, Qtel Group, firms to unify under new brand BARCELONA: Qtel Group, one of the world’s fastest growing telecommunications companies, and Wataniya Telecom has announced that it will change its brand to Ooredoo, and that each of its operating companies in emerging markets across the Middle East, North Africa and SouthEast Asia will adopt the new brand during the course of 2013 and 2014. These companies, in which Ooredoo already has a controlling interest, include brands such as Qtel in Qatar, Indosat in Indonesia, Wataniya in Kuwait, Nawras in Oman, Tunisiana in Tunisia, Nedjma in Algeria and Asiacell in Iraq. The announcement was made by Ooredoo Chairman Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al-Thani at a special launch event at Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona, Spain. During the event Ooredoo announced football star Lionel Messi as its global brand ambassador and its support to the Leo Messi foundation as part of the company’s continued commitment to making a difference in communities across the world. “With Ooredoo we have chosen an Arabic word that means XXX to reflect our core belief that we can enrich people’s lives and stimulate human growth in the communities where we operate”, said Dr Nasser Marafih, CEO, Ooredoo. “We believe that every woman should have an equal opportunity to use a mobile phone; that young people should be given the life chances that mobile technology can provide; that underserved communities should be able to have access to the Internet; and that entrepreneurs and small businesses should be able to access business services tailored to their needs. Our new brand reflects these beliefs.” The invitation-only event included presentations by Anne Bouverot, GSMA Director General, Cherie Blair, Chairman of the Cherie Blair Foundation For Women, and Dr Hamadoun Toure, Secretary General of the ITU. It also featured guest appearance by Qatari Olympic medallist Nasser Al-Attiyah. Ooredoo has experi-

enced significant growth over the last six years, transforming from a single market operator in Qatar to an international communications company with a global customer base of more than 89.2 million people (as of September 30, 2012) and consolidated revenues of $6.8 billion for the first nine months of fiscal year 2012. Delivering mobile, fixed, broadband internet and corporate managed services tailored to the needs of consumers and businesses in emerging markets, ooredoo has been the fastest growing telecommunications company in the world by revenue since 2006 and its enterprise value has more than tripled since 2005. Dr Nasser continued “We are very excited to become Ooredoo because the new brand signals our readiness to take the company to the next level. It is our belief that we can better serve our global customers by leveraging the combined resources and assets of a strong, unified global business under one brand. We also believe that rebranding now will help us to maintain our momentum in the face of new realities for the industry, signaling our commitment to become a global force” Chief Executive Officer

of Wataniya Telecom, Dr Bassam Hannoun highlighted the importance of this event and expressed optimism, saying, “Ooredoo as a brand will deliver unified, consistent and satisfying experience as well as innovative yet compelling services to our customers and to the society as a whole. Ooredoo will be the first step in excelling and outshining with all our customers” A number of on-going initiatives, built around its core strategy of differentiating on customer experience, are already taking Ooredoo to the next level. The company has initiated a major modernisation programme across its core network and is investing for the future to deliver high speed broadband as new frequencies and new technologies open up. Ooredoo has been at the forefront of delivering life-enhancing mobile services, such as mLearning in Tunisia to support young people’s economic empowerment; and women programmes in Iraq and Indonesia. Ooredoo is also providing relevant services to customers who cannot afford smartphones and working with the GSMA to develop more intuitive devices to overcome literacy barriers.



flydubai braces for more frequencies, fleet expansion The Middle East’s largest LCC on a spiral of continuous growth

DUBAI: flydubai’s chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum (fourth right) and flydubai’s CEO Ghaith Al-Ghaith (third right) and other flydubai officials are pictured at the press conference held in Dubai earlier this month.

By Velina Nacheva DUBAI/KUWAIT: Since its maiden flight in June 2009, flydubai, the world’s fastest growing start-up airline and the Middle East’s largest low-cost carrier, has flown 10.4 million passengers, extended its global network to 52 routes, and most recently posted its first annual net profit of $41.4 million for 2012. The total revenue for the budget carrier in 2012 was $756 million. Currently, flydubai is eyeing a fleet expansion. Speaking at a press conference held in Dubai earlier this month to announce flydubai’s financial results and future growth prospects, flydubai’s chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum said, “We are talking about another 50 aircraft. If the team reaches a decision, we hope to make an announcement at the Dubai Air Show.” Perfect location for success story The synergy created by Dubai’s location and the government’s forward-looking vision, in addition to the service-centric environment, contributed to flydubai’s success story. In the words of Al-Maktoum, in just over three years of operations, flydubai has made air travel more accessible. Al-Maktoum said, “The privilege of carrying Dubai’s name

flydubai pilots and crew are seen.

set huge expectations for flydubai. We, therefore, knew that we had to challenge the conventions around low-cost travel if we were to meet the standards of aviation and innovation that the UAE is known for internationally. Like the city it represents, flydubai strives on imagination and boldness.” Primary location: Core of a hub strategy Dubai is one of the most vital travel crossroads and as such it serves a two-pronged purpose - it is a stopover air hub for traffic connecting the East and the West and it has become one of the region’s most attractive year-round destinations for leisure travel. More importantly, being a trade, commerce and retail hub, Dubai is increasingly becoming day-trippers’ destination for business, leisure and shopping a market that flydubai tapped and continues to expand in. Passenger numbers at Dubai, currently the world’s third busiest airport for international passenger traffic, has grown by double digits since the start of the Arab Spring. Linking regions The wealth of travel options match the demand that state owned flydubai caters to. More importantly, low-cost carriers, an

aviation expert argues, play a vital role in linking regions, not just busy capital cities. “By providing feeder services to major hubs and new services to other regions in the Gulf, low-cost carriers play a vital role in

aviation market intelligence, analysis and data services. Today flydubai spreads wings across the Middle East, Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The low-

flydubai’s Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum addressing the press conference held in Dubai earlier this month.

bringing communities together and connecting smaller cities to the global economy. Low fares make it possible for whole new sectors of society to travel - and when this is linked to Internet-based booking services, it is like giving new market power to travellers,” says Phillip Butterworth-Hayes from PMI Media, an aviation consultancy. In 2012 alone, flydubai carried 5.1 million passengers and has increased its weekly flights to more than 1,000. Launched in the throes of the global recession, flydubai had flown 1 million passengers within just first 13 months of operation - a number that serves as a testimony to the swelling demand for services for the price-conscious flier. In addition to its recession-proof business model established at its inception, flydubai’s unbundled approach and commitment to innovation add to the airline’s exponential growth. The innovative airline is the first air carrier to offer updated digital newspapers through a premium in-flight ereader platform featuring 45 newspapers from around the world. With a fleet of 28 brand new Boeing 737-800 aircraft that will grow to a total of 50 by 2016, flydubai’s strategy continues to draw on adding frequencies and extending its geographical footprint. Currently, flydubai is the second largest air carrier operating out of Dubai International Airport right besides its sister carrier Emirates, the world’s largest international airline in terms of international passenger traffic. Operating alongside and complementing each other’s networks fuels further opportunities for expansion. Connecting the Gulf The Middle East remains the kernel of the growth strategy of flydubai, the largest budget carrier in the Middle East market based on seat capacity, according to a recent report released by CAPA Centre for Aviation - provider of independent

cost carrier operates to 16 destinations in the Middle East. Its interGulf passenger growth last year alone was 63 percent with the total market for all airlines growing by 21 percent. According to CAPA’s report flydubai is currently the largest budget carrier in each of the Gulf markets.

The commitment to the Gulf is demonstrated by the expansive capacity and frequency growth within the region. For example, there are 10 daily flights between Dubai and Kuwait today, which is the carrier’s second largest route based on frequencies and the third largest based on seat capacity, CAPA’s report said. Asked about the importance of Kuwait’s route in the flydubai’s network, its Chief Executive Officer Ghaith Al-Ghaith explains, “We are very proud of the Dubai-Kuwait route... We are happy to contribute to the strengthening of the ties between our two nations with the increasing number of flights between Kuwait and the Emirates. Having 10 flights a day is a clear indication of our strong relations.” Adding frequencies side by side, legacy carrier Emirates provides greater travel choices and further increases the opportunities for business, trade and tourism in the region. Since its launch, the no-frills carrier has made travel more affordable and accessible. It has opened up new markets granting access to Dubai and many other destinations in a catchment area within a five-and-a-half hour radius from their hub. “Our focus is to build our hub in Dubai,” says AlGhaith when asked if flydubai eyes potential markets that have recently liberalized their markets.

Aircraft orders and financing Explosive traffic and network growth are linked to a fleet expansion. With the announcement made earlier this month about a possible 50-plane order, flydubai’s fleet is set to double. Boeing’s 737 and the fuel efficient Airbus A320 are purported as the aircraft of choice for flydubai’s expansion. “We do not plan to go beyond the five-hour radius and to buy wide-body aircraft,” Al-Ghaith said in response to a question about whether hybridization could be the possible next stage in the airline’s evolution. Which airlines does flydubai benchmark itself against? Al-Ghaith replied: “We like to always challenge ourselves to always be the best. Our guiding light is that we represent a very forward-looking country and especially Dubai. We would like to always be the leader in our segment. We will try to always develop that way in the future - to be better than what we are now.” His viewpoint is what aviation experts have been predicting - that flydubai is soon to become the world’s leading low-cost carrier. The projection for some 98 million passengers to pass through United Arab Emirates’ airports by 2020 in sync with the airline’s growth-driven strategy bring flydubai closer to the top spot.

Where optimism prevails

flydubai’s CEO Ghaith Al-Ghaith on board flydubai aircraft.


haith Al-Ghaith, flydubai’s Chief Executive Officer, explains why optimism rules across the lowcost segment and the region’s aviation market in general. Al-Ghaith, who has a 27-year stint in the aviation industry, has been at the helm of flydubai ever since the airline’s inception. Reflecting on the path that he has taken as the CEO of flydubai, he explains that a new start-up is about pulling the ideas and the team together in addition to completing what needs to be done in a logical and most efficient way so that the company continues to run. “The CEO has to be like traffic police, controlling this cost or that. This is what you do as a boss. You try to inspire people and keep them focused. If you know how to do that, the rest is easy,” he says. According to him if things are meant to be successful, and “you put your heart

and mind to it and you have a good team, then you are very successful.” Talking to a group of journalists from Kuwait, Al-Ghaith said, “What made us successful is the environment. There is no environment in the whole world like Dubai. Everybody is focused, the infrastructure is perfect. If you are in a race the government is the pacemaker. The government (in the UAE) is always ahead of the game.” In his words, the United Arab Emirates are purely lucky and blessed to have a leadership that has created an environment “that challenges us.” “There are no boundaries,” he stressed. The assessment of foreign employees is another proof of the government’s success, Al-Ghaith says. “They (foreigners) will tell you that they come to this country to make their dream come true. They give this country as much as they give their own country,”

he observed. Based on flydubai’s growth pattern, what are some of the predictions that Al-Ghaith makes for the coming three years? “Another 50 aircraft is a done thing. It is easy and doable. We will continue to pursue this. The challenge now is that it will double the size of the airline. It is something that is not going to be easy but is obtainable in the future given the fantastic infrastructure that we have. We have set the tone. If you really believe in what you have done, you can do even more.” There are no troubling concerns about deficiency of trained crew to meet the airline’s growth prospects. In the words of Al-Ghaith, “As long as we have this environment, we will make people excel in their growth. As long as the environment is right, there is no problem in attracting people to fly with you or to work with you.”



Father of Nissan GT-R unveils hardcore Track Pack Edition in the Middle East Nissan GT-R Track Pack: Focused on performance at the circuit

DUBAI: The most intense, single-minded and driven version of Nissan’s awesome GT-R supercar is now available in showrooms. The GT-R Track Pack has been developed to deliver the ultimate in performance: it’s lighter, faster and boasts a track-tuned chassis with enhanced braking performance. The result is the most focused GT-R yet, the ultimate track day star. With input from GT-R development driver - and former Grand Prix and Le Mans racer - Toshio Suzuki, changes to the GT-R’s four-wheel drive chassis include uprated springs and adjustable shock absorbers specially created for the car. Speaking at the Dubai Autodrome,Kazutochi Mizuno, Chief Vehicle Engineer, known as the ‘Godfather of GT-R’, said: “The GT-R is rightly recognized as a remarkable car. It has rewritten the supercar rule book, promising exceptional performance in a car that can be driven skillfully by just about anybody in just about any road condition. “GT-R Track Pack, however, is aimed at drivers who want that extra edge, a car that’s been fine tuned for the ultimate race track performance, yet which can still be used on the open road. GT-R Track Pack is a serious, hardcore machine.” Developed by Nissan in collaboration with Bilstein and NordRing Corp, the tuning company owned by Toshio Suzuki, the Track Pack suspension setup transforms the GT-R into

a stiffly sprung supercar ready for the racetrack. With virtually all compliance dialed out of the suspension, the GT-R corners as flat as a race car and allows the nitrogenfilled 20-inch Dunlop SP MAXX GT600 DSST CTT run-flat tyresto maintain optimum contact with the track at all times thus providing maximum grip under all conditions. Other track-focused features include the unique six-spoke lightweight RAYS alloy wheels, which are finished in a special black quartz chrome colour, and additional brake cooling ducts and air guideswhich help reduce brake temperatures by around 50 degrees during track use. Cooling air is directed onto the front brakes via a special duct on the carbon front splitter while air guides behind the back wheels direct cooling air onto the rear discs. The hugely powerful Brembo braking system, which features drilled discs and opposed monoblock calipers, remains otherwise standard. The interior has also come in for the Track Pack treatment, most noticeably with the removal of the rear seats. Along with the lighter RAYS alloy wheels, the lack of back seats means the GT-R Track Pack weighs in some 14kg lighter than the GT-R Premium model. The part-leather front race seats, meanwhile, have a special covering for extra grip under hard cornering. Affectionately

known as ‘magic cloth’ by Kazutoshi Mizuno, the creator of the GT-R, the high friction fabric covers the face of both seats and ‘sticks’ to the clothes worn by the driver and passenger to hold them in place under track driving conditions. Mizuno-san first used the material when coaching Group C sports car racers in Japan and reckoned it instantly helped lap-times. But although the GT-R Track Pack has been created to lap circuits such as the Nurburgring as quickly as possible, the car remains fully road legal. To allow customers to enjoy the GT-R on road and track, the dampers can be adjusted to a softer setting at the flick of a switch ensuring the GT-R Track Pack can be used every day. Not only that, but it enjoys the same warranty cover as the standard car and requires the same regular maintenance, unless the option pack is specified. This pack - the only option available on the GT-R Track Pack - comprises a distinctive boot-mounted carbon rear spoiler and an exhaust silencer made from titanium. The latter not only saves yet more weight, but also delivers superb performance at high temperatures. The titanium exhaust, however, does require specialmaintenance before and after track use. The GT-R Track Pack also benefits from upgrades recently introduced on the MY2013 GT-R. Changes to the hand-built

3.8-litre twin turbo V6 have seen power rise to 550 PS at 6,400 rpm and maximum torque rise to 64.5kg-m(632Nm), which is available between 3,200 to 5,800 rpm. When using the standard R-Start mode, standing start performance is breathtaking with 0-100 km/h taking just 2.7seconds under ideal track conditions. Changes to the shock absorbers and springs aside, the chassis retains the standard GT-R double wishbone front/multilink rear suspension with Nissan’s ATTESA four-wheel drive chassis. The system features a rear mounted independent transaxle which packages the transmission, transfer case and limited slip rear differential in one compact assembly independently mounted on rubber bushes. Moving the transmission to the rear in this way gives the GT-R a superb weight balance. It uses twin driveshafts, one of which - made from a carbon composite - takes the drive from the engine to the transaxle while the other transfers drive forwards from the transaxle to the front wheels. The four-wheel drive system continually adjusts torque between front and rear based on dynamic demands and road conditions; in normal conditions 100 per cent of torque is directed to the rear axle, with up to 50 per cent of torque fed to the front wheels to improve traction when necessary - in

slippery conditions and to improve cornering performance. The six-speed auto dual clutch transmission has improved shift feel and is quieter in use. Gear shifts can either be made by the conventional centrally mounted lever or by magnesium paddles mounted behind the steering wheel. Despite its focused performance, GT-R Track Pack retains a number of creature comforts. These include eight-way power control for the driver’s seat, a 30GB hard drive HDD Music Box sound system, satellite navigation and rear-view camera. And, of course, it has the GT-R’s 7-inch LCD multi-function central display, developed in conjunction with Polyphony Digital Inc, designer of the Gran Turismo series for Sony PlayStation. This gives the driver access to a wide range of vehicle telemetry including lateral and transverseg-forces, accelerator opening and steering angle as well as mechanical data including oil temperature and pressure and turbo boost. 2013 Nissan GT-R Track Pack edition goes on sale across the Middle East from March 2013 onwards at a manufacturer’s recommend retail price of AED509,000 (Dubai, UAE) $138,692; GT-R Black edition is AED455,000 (Dubai, UAE) $123,978 (prices may vary across the Middle East owing to regional variances in duties and transportation costs).

Award-winning Ogilvy inaugurates Doha office

Nissan launches new era for Nismo YOKOHAMA: Nissan Motor Co Ltd kicked off a new era for Nismo, confirming it as Nissan’s exclusive global performance road car and motorsport brand and officially opening the new Nismo global headquarters and development center in Yokohama, Japan. Nismo is already well-known to motorsports and performance car enthusiasts in Japan and to millions of global gaming enthusiasts. Now, Nismo is poised for accelerated global impact, enhancing Nissan’s reputation for innovation and excitement with a new line-up of sporty Nissan road cars. In a special ceremony today, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn declared the new headquarters open and explained how Nismo will play an even more prominent role for the company’s performance car and motorsport activities. “Nismo will democratize performance and bring new excitement to the Nissan portfolio with a broader range of affordable and innovative performance models for more markets and more people,” said Ghosn. “Whether it’s a small car or a sports car, if it’s wearing the Nismo badge it offers something special - quality, functionality, and efficiency, with Nismo’s distinctive styling, sporty handling and dynamic performance capabilities.” The first new Nissan road car to get the Nismo treatment, the Juke Nismo, is already on sale in Europe and Japan and launches in the US in the second quarter of this year. A new version of the 370Z Nismo for European markets is the next Nismo road car, which made its world debut earlier this month and builds on the platform of Nissan’s most popular and accessible sports car. Nissan is promising a rapid pace of introduction of even more Nismo models, at least one model every year during the Nissan Power88 period, encompassing the breadth of the Nissan road car range. This will include the flagship of Nissan’s performance and technology, the GT-R. “It would be unthinkable for us to develop a range of Nismo road cars without including the GT-R,” said Ghosn. “The standard road car is a global supercar and the GT-R’s performance on track reflects the passion and talents of the Nismo team. The GT-R Nismo will be special and I can’t wait to drive it.” New home for Nismo Nissan has invested in an entirely new facility for Nismo’s operations, redeveloping a former production site to give it the resources for expanding beyond motorsport engineering to encompass performance road car development alongside Nissan. The new headquarters facility allows the Nismo team to be co-located in one place, bringing together the functional areas for Nismo’s key activities and technical and competition expertise under one roof. The 180-strong team is now located inside Nissan’s Powertrain Engineering complex. The workshop, engine shop, rooms for fabrication, grinding and carbon composite processes are consolidated into the same floor space

along with the parts warehouse. A new larger showroom allows up to eight vehicles to be displayed, while the retail area is now almost twice the size of the previous store in the Omori factory. “This is a great move for Nismo as we can now shift gears to operate more efficiently and expand the brand globally,” explained Nismo President, Shoichi Miyatani. “Nismo is a key element in Nissan’s future global road car and motorsports strategy and we will quickly establish it as Nissan’s exclusive performance brand,” added Miyatani. “This is the first time that all of our team has been located together, and the entire facility will become a hothouse of passion and performance.”

it is also moving from the virtual world to the real world as, for the first time in many markets around the world, a range of affordable Nismo-badged cars will be available from Nissan dealers. “For many would-be Nismo customers, the only way to experience a Nismo performance road car has been through a game like Sony’s Gran Turismo series,” said Simon Sproule, Nissan’s corporate vice president for Marketing and Communications. “Now we can bring them into the family of Nissan owners with an exciting, real Nismo car created by a dedicated and experienced team that is fully linked to the digital world and well aware of what these new customers are looking for in a performance road car.”

The Nismo spirit At the heart of each new Nismo road car will be a consistent DNA focused on delivering quality, functionality,

Performance for the road and track The spirit and inspiration for Nismo started with a group of maverick Nissan engineers almost fifty years ago. In their efforts to boost car sales through racing success, they shoehorned a powerful engine into an ordinary Nissan saloon to create the first of a legendary line of sporty road cars with the Nissan Skyline 2000GT. What came next was a run of highly successful competition and performance road cars in Japan, culminating in the birth of Nismo itself in 1984. With the digital generation, Nissan realized the power of the Nismo legend by working with game creators to create both real and virtual stars and expose a whole generation to the potential for tuning and winning in these cars. Last year alone, over 500 million virtual miles were driven in Nissan vehicles on Gran Turismo 5 for PlayStation 3. Now, as Nismo accelerates to become a global performance car brand specializing in delivering affordable, exciting and innovative performance versions of Nissan cars, the lessons learned from almost half a century of racing can be applied consistently to give drivers a surprising and rewarding ownership experience.

and efficiency in every day driving with Nismo’s distinctive styling, sporty handling and dynamic performance capabilities. Nissan’s new range of Nismo performance road cars will be built on the same production lines as their standard counterparts, which combined with inspiration taken from decades of racing and tuning expertise means that the Nismo brand ensures fully integrated per formance enhancements. Every modification Nismo makes to a road car will be functional and targeted to improve on-road performance and presence. The spirit of Nismo relies on its proud motorsport heritage and a maverick engineering philosophy. This spirit will be reflected in every new Nismo model with efficient performance, accessible and advanced technology, and bold, smart design, all of which embody Nissan’s philosophy of innovation that excites. Connecting the virtual with the real Nismo is known around the world by millions through the virtual world of driving simulation games. In fact, the first opportunity to drive a Nissan Juke Nismo was provided virtually through Gameloft’s Asphalt 7: Heat. Now, at the same time as Nismo is moving from race track to road,

Nismo expands role in motorsport Nismo’s new charter will also impact Nissan’s future motorsport activities, where it is expected to boldly enhance Nissan’s reputation for excitement and innovation. Nismo is taking on global responsibility for managing Nissan’s motorsport program which includes top level competition in every region of the world. “Nissan’s continued commitment to a variety of motorsports programs around the world from the Altima in the Australian V8 Supercars to Super GT in Japan, but we also intend to surprise people by exploring advanced forms of motorsport,” explained Miyatani. “Our experience a spirit of pushing the boundaries even further helps us to raise awareness of Nismo around the world, but more importantly it means we can transfer the lessons we learn into tangible benefits for our customers, whether for Nismo road cars, race cars or tuning parts.”

KUWAIT: Memac Ogilvy, one of the Middle East and North Africa’s top marketing communication agencies, yesterday marked the inauguration of Memac Ogilvy Qatar. Memac Ogilvy is part of Ogilvy & Mather, one of the largest marketing communications networks in the world. The Qatar office is the 15th Memac Ogilvy office and is headed by Samer Abboud. The Office is located in Doha’s West Bay business district. “I’m proud to open our 15th MENA office, in Doha. Starting from one office in 1984 in Bahrain, we have grown to become not only one of the biggest agencies in the MENA region, but also the most creative agency in the Arab world,” said Edmond Moutran, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Memac Ogilvy & Mather Holding Middle East & North Africa. “We’re pleased to bring our history, expertise and award-winning team to the Qatar market. It’s a country with big ambitions, visionary leadership and companies that are looking beyond Doha to tell their story. That’s a good fit for the Memac Ogilvy brand.” Memac Ogilvy Qatar provides the full slate of marketing communications services, leveraging Ogilvy’s strategic tools and network of 450 offices worldwide. Samer Abboud, Managing Director of Memac Ogilvy Qatar said, “We’re offering a unique proposition to the Doha market, integrating communications that keep the business ambition ahead of channel focus. That keeps us focused on creativity that’s effective, drawing inspiration from David Ogilvy’s line - ‘If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.’” The office, open since mid-2012, counts several local clients on its roster in addition to providing support to Memac Ogilvy’s regional client relationships. A team of 15 advertising, public relations and social media specialists are on staff, bringing global experience from the US, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Gulf Region. Memac Ogilvy was the most awarded agency in the Arab World at the 2012 Cannes Lions, and winner of two Gold Awards at the Dubai Lynx. The Doha office was awarded the Best Use of Social Media award by the Middle East Public Relations Association last year. Breaking through the marketing clutter today requires more than creativity - companies are demanding effectiveness. Staying top of mind means moving from one-off messages into creative, digitally enabled content. The agency’s planning approach takes into account all disciplines - the 360 degrees of communication - and drives to identify the 10 degrees of communication that matter. Qatar, the country with the highest income per capita in the world, has experienced exponential growth since the commercialization of its substantial oil and gas reserves. The Qatar National Vision 2030 outlines a longterm approach to creating long-term, sustainable wealth beyond oil and gas, focused on economic, human, social and environmental sustainability.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Ahmed bin Saif Al-Thani, Edmond Moutran, Sheikh Sheikh Saif Ahmed Saif, and Samer Abboud are pictured.



Mid-2013 expansion for Internet names targeted

NEW YORK: Hundreds of Internet address suffixes to rival “.com” should be available for people and businesses to use by the end of the year, the head of an Internet oversight agency said yesterday. The initial ones, expected in mid-2013, will likely be in Chinese and other languages besides English, said Fadi Chehade, CEO of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. That will be followed within weeks by English suffixes that do not have competing bidders. Although the specific names won’t be announced until late April, they will come from a pool of single-bidder proposals - among them, “.aetna,” “.cadillac” and other brand names sought by companies, regional monikers such as “.vegas” and “.quebec” and generic suffixes such as “.like” and “.vacation.” Many proposed suffixes, such as “.app,” “.music” and “.tech,” will likely take longer, however, because multiple groups have submitted bids to run them and must work out disputes. ICANN is overseeing the largest expansion of the Internet address system since its creation in the

1980s. Last year, nearly 2,000 businesses and groups submitted bids for about 1,400 different names. Proponents of the new suffixes are hoping the expansion will lead to online neighborhoods of businesses and groups around specific geographic areas or industries. And with easy-to-remember “.com” names long taken, they hope to offer Internet newcomers more choices. In preparation for that expansion, Chehade said Monday that businesses and other trademark holders will be able to declare names they want protected, starting March 26, for an annual fee of up to $150 per name. IBM Corp. and Deloitte will run that system, known as the Trademark Clearinghouse. Trademark holders will have a chance to register names ending in one of the new suffixes before registration opens to the general public. If a company chooses not to register the name right away, the Trademark Clearinghouse will notify the company when someone else tries to do so. The system, however, will not block that name from going through, and parties must work out disputes themselves,

such as through arbitration. Still to be determined is whether the system will cover variations such as misspellings or the use of a trademark as part of a longer suffix, as in “iPhoneCases.” In an interview with The Associated Press, Chehade said ICANN did not want to restrict free speech or other legitimate uses. From a technical standpoint, computers don’t really care what the names are, as long as they match to a numeric Internet address that computers need to send email and locate websites. From a business and cultural standpoint, however, the names have come to mean much more. Names are central to many companies’ branding. And the Internet feels less global when Chinese, Arabic and Russian speakers have to use English characters as part of their Internet address. ICANN received more than 100 proposals for names in other languages, the bulk of them for the Chinese equivalent of words such as “company” and “online.” ICANN’s board had agreed to review those first. Proposals for about a thousand English suffixes have only one bidder, so those would be next in line.

In making its recommendations, ICANN is considering the bidder’s financial and technical capabilities, as well as any objections raised by the public. Chehade said ICANN’s initial recommendations are expected in late April, after which the winning bidders will work out operational and contractual details. The first of the new names are expected to be activated within months, with additional ones coming at a rate of about 20 a week. For suffixes with multiple bidders, there is no deadline for which parties must reach agreement. ICANN plans to ultimately hold an auction if competing bidders cannot reach a compromise. Meanwhile, ICANN said Monday that it would spread its operations to three locations around the world to cover all time zones. Headquarters will remain in Los Angeles, with hubs expected in Singapore and Istanbul, Turkey, by mid-2013. In an interview from Singapore, Chehade said the change would help ICANN avoid hiring a US-centric staff as the Internet address system expands to accommodate users worldwide. — AP

Transparent film uses light to power phone batteries ‘Plenty of other applications’

BEIJING: Judges tell primary school students in Dayang township, Chongqing, about the national emblem to help them establish awareness of the rule of law.

Technology used to combat graft BEIJING: China has improved the way it deals with corruption and is increasingly using technology to combat graft, but experts say preventing the technology from being abused must also be taken into consideration. Judges tell primary school students in Dayang township, Chongqing, about the national emblem to help them establish awareness of the rule of law. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences published a report on China’s rule of law on Monday, which stated that the country’s disciplinary authorities at every level have developed and applied technology to their anti-corruption work, such as online approval platforms and bribery record systems. The report is published in the Blue Book on the Rule of Law, also produced by the academy. In 2012, a system tracking companies and people who pay bribes was put into effect, which means prosecutors can check nationwide bribery information online, according to the report, adding that the country has made great progress on bribery prevention in this way. The government in Hainan province developed an online system to prevent officials from intervening in administrative examination and approval, while Ningbo city’s government, in Zhejiang province, also carried out electronic monitoring of administrations, the report said. On Saturday, Party chief Xi Jinping stressed the promotion of the rule of law in an all-round manner, calling for scientific legislation, strict law enforcement, judicial justice and for every citizen to be beholden to the law. Lu Yanbin, director of the academy’s editorial office, said using technology to fight corruption has become increasingly effective and will continue to be explored this year. Guangzhou, Guangdong province, is building a database that can integrate information from the city’s authorities, such as the public security bureau, and tax and housing departments. The database will reveal any anomalies and help prevent corruption, the report said. “Such technology is still just a beginning

for the country,” Lu said. “How to share the information on these systems and protect the database needs each department’s cooperation.” Zhou Shuzhen, a professor of corruption research at Renmin University of China, spoke highly of the technology application on anti-graft work, saying several corrupt officials and cases were exposed by technology last year. “The technology, to some extent, is a better platform to regulate procedures of every department, which can avoid officials who intend to take bribes or are corrupt through their work,” Zhou said. “It is effective for disciplinary authorities to seek clues of corruption and provides a space for the public to supervise.” Meanwhile, these technical systems can help the public “see” and “feel” the government’s anti-corruption work, according to Zhou, who said it is also a good way for people to understand Chinese authorities’ determination to combat corruption. However, she added that such technology is more useful in the earlier stages of anti-graft work and cannot be seen as the main way of solving the country’s corruption problem. Yang Xiaojun, a law professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, echoed Zhou’s comments, saying corruption will remain serious if those who are responsible for the technology cannot apply it well or abuse the system. “After all, it is still people who control these systems and databases. If they make poor use of these online platforms after mastering the technology, the corruption may be more severe,” Yang said. Both experts said some current anti-corruption regulations are not practical and cannot work effectively. “How to stimulate residents to supervise officials and make the regulations function should be key in the future,” Yang added. Hu Min, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said now is the right time to make efforts to solve the graft problem by perfecting regulations and laws. “We can’t always say the work has a long way to go. Instead, we should learn from other countries and start the work right now,” Hu said. — MCT

SHANGHAI: Schoolboys solving a math problem in an all boys class at the government-run Shanghai Number Eight High School in Shanghai recently. Shanghai, whose school system produces the world’s top test-scorers, has launched China’s first all-boys high school programme with an eye on elite overseas institutions like Eton. — AFP

BARCELONA: A transparent film that costs just one euro ($1.30) to make could bring an end to the anguish of mobile phone users facing the dreaded dead-battery message. Wysips, a startup based in Aix-en-Provence, southern France, has developed a photovoltaic film which can be built seamlessly into a mobile phone screen and deliver the joy of life to a flat battery. At the world’s biggest mobile fair in Barcelona, Spain, the gadget was luring interest from handset manufacturers and its inventors said they hoped the first mobiles equipped with the Wysips film will be in stores by the end of this year. Wysips chief executive Ludovic Deblois showed off a prototype of a smartphone equipped with the film at the Mobile World Congress. By just shining a torch on its screen, the mobile’s battery icon showed that it had started to recharge. “With 10 minutes in the sun you will be able to communicate for two minutes. To recharge completely you will have to expose it for six hours, so our technology is not necessarily for a full recharge but rather for an energy boost for specific applications,” Deblois said. “For example, for security if you have to make an emergency call. So if you arrive at the airport and you have your boarding pass on the mobile you can’t have a telephone that runs out of battery so you can just put it in the light and recharge it.” Similarly, the film can get mobile phone users out of a fix when batteries go flat just when the time comes to pay a restaurant bill, or buy a train ticket. But in developing regions it could be even more important, Deblois said.

“The African continent interests us in terms of market because there are more than 500 million people with a mobile telephone but it is a continent that is only 40 percent electrified, which means people need energy to recharge their telephones,” he said. “And the usage is not the same so the telephone is exposed much more to the sun, so you could even get to complete autonomy of the telephone in that region.” Wysips plans to license the technology to handset manufacturers, who would decide the final price to be paid by consumers. The cost of the film, however, is only about one euro per unit, Deblois said. After three years of research and develop-

ment, the prototype is complete and a manufacturing line with a capacity of eight million units is being prepared in Aix-en-Provence to start output in April, he said. The factory is aimed only at proving that the product can be mass produced, however. Wysips expects handset manufacturers to produce the screens themselves, and it hopes the first such phones will be on the market by the end of 2013. Later, the new factory will be used to produce similar films for other products. “We are in the midst of developing applications for watches, electronic price tags in supermarkets, and home thermostats,” the company chief said. “There are plenty of other applications.”— AFP

US college tests fingerprint purchasing technology RAPID CITY: Futurists have long proclaimed the coming of a cashless society, where dollar bills and plastic cards are replaced by fingerprint and retina scanners smart enough to distinguish a living, breathing account holder from an identity thief. What they probably didn’t see coming was that one such technology would make its debut not in Silicon Valley or MIT but at a small state college in remote western South Dakota, 25 miles from Mount Rushmore. Two shops on the School of Mines and Technology campus are performing one of the world’s first experiments in Biocryptology — a mix of biometrics (using physical traits for identification) and cryptology (the study of encoding private information). Students at the Rapid City school can buy a bag of potato chips with a machine that non-intrusively detects their hemoglobin to make sure the transaction is legitimate. Researchers figure their technology would provide a critical safeguard against a morbid scenario sometimes found in spy movies in which a thief removes someone else’s finger to fool the scanner. On a recent Friday, mechanical engineering major Bernard Keeler handed a Red Bull to a cashier in the Miner’s Shack campus shop, typed his birthdate into a pay pad and swiped his finger. Within seconds, the machine had identified his print and checked that blood was pulsing beneath it, allowing him to make the buy. Afterward, Keeler proudly showed off the receipt he was sent via email on his smartphone. Fingerprint technology isn’t new, nor is the general concept of using biometrics as a way to pay for goods. But it’s the extra layer of protection - that deeper check to ensure the finger has a pulse - that researchers say sets this technology apart from already-existing digital fingerprint scans, which are used mostly for criminal background checks. Al Maas, president of Nexus USA - a subsidiary of Spanish-based Hanscan Indentity Management, which patented the technology - acknowledged South Dakota might seem an unlikely locale to test it, but to him, it was a perfect fit. “I said, if it flies here in the conservative Midwest, it’s going to go anywhere,” Maas said. Maas grew up near Madison, S.D., and wanted his home state to be the technology’s guinea pig. He convinced Hanscan owner Klaas Zwart that the 2,400-student Mines campus should be used as the starter location. The students all major in mechanical

engineering or hard sciences, which means they’re naturally technologically inclined, said Joseph Wright, the school’s associate vice president for research-economic development. “South Dakota is a place where people take risks. We’re very entrepreneurial,” Wright said. After Maas and Zwart introduced the idea to students this winter, about 50 stepped forward to take part in the pilot. “I really wanted to be part of what’s new and see if I could help improve what they already have,” said Phillip Clemen, 19, a mechanical engineering student. Robert Siciliano, a security expert with McAfee, Inc., minimized potential privacy concerns. “We are hell bent on privacy issues here in the US We get all up in arms when someone talks about scanning us or recording our information, but then we’ll throw up everything about us on Facebook and give up all of

our personal information for 10 percent off at a shoe store for instant credit,” he said. Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union, said fingerprint technology on its own raises security issues, but he called “liveness detection” a step in the right direction. “Any security measure can be defeated; it’s a question of making it harder,” he said. The key to keeping biometric identification from becoming Big Brother-like is to make it voluntary and ensure that the information scanned is used exactly as promised, Stanley said. Brian Wiles, a Miles mechanical engineering major, said it’s exciting to be beta testing technology that could soon be worldwide. “There was some hesitation, but the fact that it’s the first in the world - that’s the whole point of this school,” said Wiles, 22. “We’re innovators.” — AP

Net providers begin warning of illegal downloads WASHINGTON: Internet users who illegally share music, movies or television shows online could soon receive warning notices from the nation’s five major Internet service providers. The Copyright Alert System, organized by the recording and film industry, is being activated this week to target consumers using peer-to-peer software. Under the new system, complaints will prompt an Internet service provider - such as Verizon or AT&T - to notify a customer whose Internet address has been detected sharing files illegally. A person will be given up to six opportunities to stop before the Internet provider will take more drastic steps, such as temporarily slowing their connection, or redirecting Internet traffic until they acknowledge they received a notice or review educational materials about copyright law. Consumers who maintain they have been wrongly accused would be forced to pay $35 to appeal the decision. The fee would be reimbursed if they prevail. Proponents say the focus is on deterring the average consumer rather than chronic

violators. The director of the organization behind the system, Jill Lesser of the Center for Copyright Infringement, said in a blog post Monday that the program is “meant to educate rather than punish, and direct (users) to legal alternatives.” Each Internet provider is expected to implement their own system. The program gives each customer five or six “strikes” after a music or film company has detected illegal file-sharing and lodged a complaint. The first alerts are expected to be educational, while the third and fourth would require the customer to acknowledge that they have received the warnings and understand their behavior is illegal. The final warnings are expected to lead to “mitigation measures,” such as slowing a person’s Internet connection speeds. Officials involved in the effort acknowledge it’s unlikely to stop the biggest violators. There are ways to disguise an IP address or use a neighbor’s connection that is unlocked. Public wireless connections, such as those offered at coffee shops, also won’t be monitored. — AP


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

Cambodia reports eighth bird flu death, triggering fears PHNOM PENH: A 35-year-old man has become Cambodia’s eighth bird flu fatality this year, prompting concern about the spread of the virus in the country, a health official said yesterday, The latest victim, from the northeastern province of Kampong Cham, died on Monday night from the H5N1 virus in a Phnom Penh hospital, said Ly Sovann, deputy head of the health ministry’s disease surveillance

bureau. He said the man had eaten two ducks which had previously died before he became sick earlier this month. “We are really worried about the situation because in just two months we have nine cases of bird flu,” Ly Sovann told AFP. Eight of the nine people died, along with thousands of birds in the villages where the victims lived. “There was a lot of dead poultry, but the people did not report to

(officials). In the villages that I went to, almost all poultry had died,” Ly Sovann said, adding it took up to a month for officials to be told of poultry deaths in some areas. The health ministry has enhanced surveillance to try to detect and treat avian influenza cases in the early stages, he said. “We are also worried about (possible) human-to-human transmission of bird

flu, but it is not the case now,” said Ly Sovann. He urged villagers immediately to report dead poultry and not to touch or eat the birds. Sonny Krishnan, communications officer with the World Health Organization in Cambodia, said it was keeping “a close watch” on the situation. “ The disease is still of limited transmutability from poultry to humans,” he said. Cambodia has recorded 30 human

cases of H5N1 since 2003, with all but three of them proving fatal. The virus has killed more than 365 people worldwide since a major outbreak in 2003, according to WHO statistics. It typically spreads from birds to humans through direct contact. But experts fear it could mutate into a form easily transmissible between humans, with the potential to trigger a pandemic. —AFP

Boycott eyed if NJ boardwalk uses rainforest wood

SOUTHERN OCEAN: This handout picture taken by Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR) shows the environmental group ship Sea Shepherd (top L) steering its bow between an oil supply ship and Japan’s whaling ship Nisshin Maru (not pictured) in the Southern Ocean. —AFP

Protesters, whalers clash in Antarctic waters SYDNEY: Japanese whalers and militant conservationists have been involved in dangerous clashes in icy waters off Antarctica, with both sides accusing the other of ramming their vessels. Veteran anti-whaling campaigner Paul Watson said the Japanese factory ship the Nisshin Maru rammed the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s much smaller vessel the Bob Barker in the incident on Monday. But on its website, Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research accused several Sea Shepherd boats of slamming into the Nisshin Maru as the vessel attempted to refuel with her supply tanker the Sun Laurel. “It was five hours of intense confrontation,” Watson told AFP from on board the Sea Shepherd vessel the Steve Irwin. “We took up our positions to block their approach to the (fuel tanker) Sun Laurel and they rammed the Bob Barker twice, causing considerable damage, and then they pushed it into the side of the Sun Laurel.” Watson said the Japanese threw stun grenades and fired a water cannon at his boat and damaged another Sea Shepherd vessel, the Sam Simon, but there were no injuries to Sea Shepherd crew. “It was extremely dangerous,” he

said. “I can’t tell you how intimidating it is to have a 12,000 tonne ship coming at you and trying to slam into the side of you. “Their contention that we rammed them is just ludicrous. We would just bounce off them.” The Institute of Cetacean Research said the Japanese vessels were “again subject to sabotage by the Sea Shepherd ships Steve Irwin, Bob Barker and Sam Simon”. “During their obstruction to refuelling operations the Sea Shepherd vessels rammed into... the Nisshin Maru and the supply tanker,” it said. “During the attack, the Nisshin Maru used her water pump as a preventive measure to make Sea Shepherd vessels refrain from further approaching, and repeatedly broadcasted a warning message to stop them.” It said no crew on its side were injured but accused the Sea Shepherd campaigners of “extremely dangerous and foolhardy behaviour” that threatened the lives of those on board the vessels. Japan’s fisheries agency separately issued a statement saying Sea Shepherd boats rammed the Japanese whaling ship when it was getting fuel. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Some patients won’t see nurses of different race

DETROIT: It’s been called one of medicine’s “open secrets” - allowing patients to refuse treatment by a doctor or nurse of another race. In the latest example, a white man with a swastika tattoo insisted that black nurses not be allowed to touch his newborn. That led several black nurses to sue the Michigan hospital, claiming it bowed to his illegal demands, and a rapid settlement in one of their lawsuits. The Michigan cases are among several lawsuits filed in recent years that highlight this seldom-discussed issue, which quietly persists almost 60 years after the start of the civil rights movement. The American Medical Association’s ethics code bars doctors from refusing to treat people based on race, gender and other criteria, but there are no specific policies for handling race-based requests from patients. “In general, I don’t think honoring prejudicial preferences ... is morally justifiable” for a health care organization, said Dr Susan Goold, a University of Michigan professor of internal medicine and public health. “That said, you can’t cure bigotry ... There may be times when grudgingly acceding to a patient’s strongly held preferences is morally OK.” Those times could include patients who have been so traumatized - by rape or combat, for instance - that accommodating their request would be preferable to forcing on them a caregiver whose mere presence might aggravate the situation, she said. Tonya Battle, a 25-year nurse at Flint’s Hurley Medical Center, filed the first lawsuit last month against the hospital and a nursing manager, claiming a note posted on an assignment clipboard read, “No AfricanAmerican nurse to take care of baby.” She says the note was later removed but black nurses weren’t assigned to care for the baby for about a month because of their race. That case, which was recently joined by three other nurses, was settled this week. Hospital officials said in a statement Friday that the incident was

“triggered by conduct which is not consistent with Hurley’s policies” and that it “fundamentally opposes racial discrimination.” No details about the settlement were released. Earlier this week, Hurley President Melany Gavulic denied Battle’s claim, saying the father was told that his request could not be granted. Gavulic said the swastika tattoo “created anger and outrage in our staff,” and supervisors raised safety concerns. Multiple email and phone messages left for Battle through her attorney were unreturned, and a listed number for her had been disconnected. She told the Detroit Free Press she “didn’t even know how to react” when she learned of her employer’s actions following her interaction with the father. She said she introduced herself to the man and he said, “I need to see your supervisor.” That supervisor, Battle said, told her that the father, who was white, didn’t want African-Americans to care for his child and had rolled up his sleeve to expose the swastika.”I just was really dumbfounded,” Battle said. “I couldn’t believe that’s why he was so angry (and) that’s why he was requesting my (supervisory) nurse.” Attorney Tom Pabst, who is representing nurse Carlotta Armstrong in a second lawsuit that wasn’t part of the settlement, said the hospital’s actions left nurses in the neonatal intensive care unit “in a ball of confusion.” “She said, ‘You know what really bothered me? I didn’t know what to do if the baby was choking or dying. Am I going to get fired if I go over there?’” Pabst said. The Michigan cases follow a 2010 decision by the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals, which held that the federal Civil Rights Act prohibits nursing homes from making staffing decisions for nursing assistants based on residents’ racial preferences. The ruling stemmed from a lawsuit filed by a black nursing assistant who sued her employer for racial discrimination. —AP

has chased the Japanese fleet hunting whales off Antarctica for several years in a bid to stop the animals being slaughtered. The latest skirmish follows a similar incident in the remote Southern Ocean last week that prompted calls for Australia to intervene. An official from Japan’s fisheries agency said Tokyo “has frequently requested that the Australian government take measures to prevent such incidents through various diplomatic routes”. “We can’t disclose details of our requests including the timing because of diplomatic sensitivities,” he said. Canberra is strongly opposed to whaling but prefers to press its case through the International Court of Justice. “The court is the best place to resolve a serious disagreement between governments,” Environment Minister Tony Burke said Tuesday, adding that the court was getting closer to full hearings on the case. “As I have said before there is nothing scientific about harpooning a whale, chopping it up and putting it on a plate.” Japan says it conducts vital scientific research using a loophole in an international ban on whaling, but makes no secret of the fact that the mammals ultimately end up as food. —AFP

Missed diagnoses common in the doctor’s office NEW YORK: Missed or wrong diagnoses are common in primary care and may put some patients at risk of serious complications, according to a US study. Mistakes in surgery and medication prescribing have been at the center of patient safety efforts, but researchers whose findings appeared in JAMA Internal Medicine said less attention has been paid to missed diagnoses in the doctor’s office. Because of how common they are, those errors may lead to more patient injuries and deaths than other mistakes, according to David Newman-Toker from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, who cowrote a commentary on the study. “We have every reason to believe that diagnostic errors are a major, major public health problem,” Newman-Toker told Reuters Health. “You’re really talking about at least 150,000 people per year, deaths or disabilities that are resulting from this problem.” For the study, researchers used electronic health records to track 190 diagnostic errors made during primary care visits at one of two healthcare facilities. In each of those cases, the misdiagnosed patient was hospitalized or turned up back at the office or emergency room within two weeks. The study team found the type of missed diagnosis varied widely. Pneumonia, heart failure, kidney failure and cancer each accounted for between five and seven percent of conditions doctors initially diagnosed as something else. Most diagnostic errors could have caused moderate or severe harm to the patient, the researchers determined. Of the 190 patients with diagnostic errors, 36 had serious perma-

nent damage and 27 died. One of the difficulties in making an accurate diagnosis is that certain common symptoms, such as stomach ache or shortness of breath, could be signs of a range of illnesses, both serious and not, researchers said. “If you look at the types of chief complaints that these things occur with, they’re fairly common chief complaints,” said Hardeep Singh, who led the study at the Houston VA Health Services Research and Development Center of Excellence. “If somebody would come in with mild shortness of breath and a little bit of cough, people would think you might have bronchitis, you might have phlegm... and lo and behold they would come back two days later with heart failure,” he told Reuters Health. Most of the missed diagnoses were traced back to the office visit and the doctor not getting an accurate patient history, doing a full exam or ordering the correct tests. One thing patients can do, the researchers agreed, is come to the office prepared to give their doctor all of the relevant information about the nature and timing of their symptoms. “I do think it’s important for a patient to question or observe the doctor,” Newman-Toker said. “Ask pointed questions: ‘what else could this be? What things are you most concerned about?’” In addition, patients shouldn’t assume that they’re fine if they develop new symptoms or their symptoms worsen, just because the doctor initially diagnosed something not serious. “We need to get patients more engaged in the conversation with the providers,” Singh said. “I think the main message is: how do we effectively (make diagnoses) together?” —Reuters

AVON: Environmental groups calculate that 766 acres of old-growth tropical rainforest needed to be cut down to provide materials to rebuild just one small stormdamaged boardwalk at the Jersey shore, and they’re promising a tourist-season boycott if the town goes through with its plans. Activists are calling on the small shore town of Avon to use something other than ipe (pronounced EE’-pay) to rebuild the boardwalk destroyed by Superstorm Sandy in October. Georgina Shanley, an anti-ipe crusader from Ocean City, helped dissuade her town from using the wood for its boardwalk in 2007. “We live in a shore community as well, and we have nothing but respect for the small businesses that view the summer as their harvest time for the whole year,” she said. “We don’t want to hurt their businesses. But this is such an important issue that we are prepared to get national and international support to put pressure on Avon to do the right thing.” The groups plan to ask the Borough Commission to reverse its decision at a meeting Monday night. The commission awarded a nearly $1.5 million contract earlier this month to rebuild its boardwalk, which spans a little more than half a mile between Belmar to the south and Bradley Beach to the north. That decision has already been irrevocably made, Avon administrator Timothy Gallagher told The Associated Press Monday afternoon. “ The contract has already been awarded, the wood has been cut and shipped, and it’s sitting in a warehouse in North Carolina already, waiting for us,” he said. Of the environmentalists’ boycott threats, Gallagher replied, “It’s America. Anyone can say anything they want.” Avon’s boardwalk project is already

a month or two behind some other Jersey shore towns due to a combination of legal woes, a political dispute and protests from environmentalists over its plans to use ipe. Avon officials have said their contract requires certification that the wood was harvested in a responsible and sustainable manner. But Tim Keating of Rainforest Relief said there are real questions about whether the wood was harvested responsibly. Even the most widely accepted certification, issued by the Forest Stewardship Council, has divided environmentalists. Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, said cutting down tropical rainforests contributes to climate change, which in turn spawns more destructive storms that threaten coastal towns like Avon. Environmental activists say domestic hardwoods that are plentiful and easily replaceable, or planks made from synthetic materials, are preferable for boardwalk projects. Many coastal towns, including Avon, like the tropical hardwoods for their durability, their strength and their resistance to rotting in salty environments. But they’ve encountered the same pressure as Avon. Ocean City placed an order for ipe in 2007 but canceled amid a buzz saw of criticism. It ultimately paid more than $1 million to settle a suit brought by the lumber company. Belmar was set to use ipe to re-do its own boardwalk, but switched to synthetic material after many of the same groups now pressuring Avon threatened to sue. Thus far, there has been no threat of litigation against Avon. “Avon is a small family town and mostly families with their children go there,” Shanley said. “But even kindergarteners know we shouldn’t be destroying the rainforests.”—AP

BRUSSELS: Spain’s agriculture minister Miguel Arias Canete, left, talks with British Secretary of State for the Environment, Food, & Rural Affairs Owen William Paterson, during the EU agriculture ministers council at the European Council building. —AP

Horse a hidden ingredient in many European foods DUBLIN: So hungry you could eat a horse? Chances are, if you’ve regularly consumed processed-meat products in Europe, you already have. Since Ireland published surprise DNA results on Jan 15 showing that a third of frozen “beef” burgers in Ireland contained at least a trace of horse, food scientists in more than a dozen countries have found the animal trotting into products where it was never meant to roam. Daily revelations from an everincreasing menu of supermarket, catering and restaurant goods have taught the world one lesson: When minced up with other meat or slathered with spices, consumers cannot tell equine from bovine in the food chain. European horse has yet to be detected in any American-sold products. BURGERS This is the product that started the January stampede to Europe’s DNA labs. Irish authorities doing a random quality check were shocked to find horse meat in frozen burgers produced for five Irish and British supermarkets, and eventually traced the source to Poland. The Irish producers’ top two customers - Burger King’s British, Irish and Danish restaurants and the British supermarket chain Tesco quickly took their business elsewhere. PIZZA There’s something rotten in Denmark, but it’s not the meat itself. The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration says a product enigmatically described as “pizza meat” and sold by the Harby Slagtehus meat wholesaler contains cow, pig and horse. The company insists its customers in pizzerias across Denmark knew the topping contained horse, even if that little fact was nowhere on the ingredients list. Government vets don’t believe a word of that. SPAGHETTI BOLOGNESE Better make that “bolo-neighs.” Many of Europe’s leading makers of microwaveable frozen foods - including Birds Eye of Britain, Nestle of Switzerland, and Findus of France found that some suppliers had mixed horse into

the ground beef used for Europe’s most ubiquitous pasta sauce. PASTA Not to beat a dead horse, but Europe’s foodtesting labs are indicating that any factorymade pasta product containing “beef” sauce or filling might be horse in drag. Among those caught at the DNA finish line are the frozen “beef” lasagnas of Birds Eye; Nestle’s Buitoni brand of ravioli in Italy and fusilli in Spain; and Combino-branded tortelloni and penne in Austria. France’s Comigel blamed the discovery of up to 100 percent horse in its “beef” lasagnas - sold under other brand names, including Findus and Tesco - on a complex supply chain stretching from its Luxembourg factory back via Dutch and Cypriot middlemen to Romania horse butchers. PASTRIES Thank goodness there’s no such thing (yet) as a beef doughnut. In Spain, Nestle’s recall of products includes meat-filled, semicircular pastries called empanadas. PIES You might be surprised to find horse meat hiding under a frilly layer of potato. British-style cottage pies, with gravy, beef and carrots under the smashed spuds, have been withdrawn from scores of school cafeterias in England, Wales and Scotland after DNA tests found horse meat inside. France made similar discoveries in its potato-topped pie called hachis Parmentier. VEGETABLES Mom might tell you to eat your vegetables, but the Nestle product recall in Spain included meat-stuffed peppers. KEBABS Once you’ve blended a handful of meats, does one more really matter? The Austrians found horse in kebab meat produced by a Vienna firm, Lilla Gastronomie, that was supposed to contain a blend of only beef, pork and turkey. —AP

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


Panel questions value of calcium, vitamin D pills

WASHINGTON: Popping calcium and vitamin D pills in hopes of strong bones? Healthy older women should not bother with relatively low-dose dietary supplements, say new recommendations from a US government advisory group. Both nutrients are crucial for healthy bones and specialists advise getting as much as possible from a good diet. The body also makes vitamin D from sunshine. If an older person has a vitamin deficiency or bone-thinning osteoporosis, doctors often prescribe higher-than-normal doses. But for otherwise healthy postmenopausal women, adding modest supplements to their diet - about 400 international units of D and 1,000 milligrams of

calcium - do not prevent broken bones but can increase the risk of kidney stones, the US Preventive Services Task Force said Monday. It is not clear if those doses offer bone protection if taken before menopause, or if they help men’s bones, the guidelines said. What about higherdose supplements that have become more common recently? There’s not enough evidence to tell if they would prevent fractures, either, in an otherwise healthy person, the panel concluded. It urged more research to settle the issue. It’s a confusing message considering that for years, calcium and vitamin D supplements have been widely considered an insurance policy against osteoporosis, with

little down side to taking them. “Regrettably, we don’t have as much information as we would like to have about a substance that has been around a long time and we used to think we understood,” said Dr Virginia Moyer of the Baylor College of Medicine, who heads the task force. “Turns out, there’s a lot more to learn.” The main caution: These recommendations aren’t for people at high risk of weak bones, including older adults who have previously broken a bone and are at risk for doing so again, said Dr Sundeep Khosla of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. Those people should consult a doctor, said Khosla, a bone specialist at the Mayo Clinic who wasn’t part of the panel’s

deliberations. Calcium and vitamin D work together, and you need a lifetime of both to build and maintain strong bones. Vitamin D also is being studied for possibly preventing cancer and certain other diseases, something that Monday’s guidelines don’t address and that other health groups have cautioned isn’t yet proven. For now, national standards advise the average adult to get about 1,000 mg of calcium, 1,300 for postmenopausal women, every day. For vitamin D, the goal is 600 IUs of vitamin D every day, moving to 800 after age 70, according to the Institute of Medicine, which set those levels in 2010. The nutrients can come from various foods,

including orange juice fortified with calcium and D; dairy foods such as milk, yogurt and cheese; certain fish including salmon; and fortified breakfast cereals. Harder to measure is how much vitamin D the body also produces from sunshine. Most people should get enough calcium from food, said Mayo’s Khosla. But while he cautions against too high doses, he frequently tells his patients to take a multivitamin because it’s harder to get vitamin D from food and during the winter. While supplement science gets sorted out, the task force’s Moyer advises healthy seniors to exercise - proven to shore up bones and good for the rest of the body, too. —AP


W H AT ’ S O N



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Head of Sixth Form with Tareq

ESF student wins British Embassy competition


he British Embassy in Kuwait recently held a public speaking and speech writing competition with the subject “The Relations between Kuwait and Great Britain”. The competition was opened to all English Schools in Kuwait. The English School Fahaheel student and Deputy Head Boy Tareq Al Baddah from ESF 6th Form won the speech competition. His speech will now be delivered publicly by HE The British Ambassador to Kuwait in the near future. ESF congratulates Tareq on his outstanding achievement.

Announcement Musical extravaganza with Dr Yesudas


rend setter Udupi Restaurant, Kuwait proudly present “Gandharva Nadamritham”, a live classical musical extravaganza featuring the living legend & maestro Padmabooshan Award winner Dr. K.J. Yesudas with his troupe from India, on March 22 at American International School, Maidan Hawally, Kuwait. Goan Culinary Club


he Goan Culinary Club - Goa encourages you to log on to their website where you can find a video of Odette and Joe Mascarenhas sharing their thoughts on Goan cuisine. These videos were recorded at the launch of the Goan Culinary Club in Goa on March 3, 2012. Thanks to support from all at the Goan Culinary Club, we have made great progress in six months. Basketball Academy he new Premier Basketball Academy offers coaching and games every Friday and Saturday from 10 am onwards for 6 to 18 year olds, boys and girls. Located in Bayan Block 7, Masjed Al-Aqsa Street by Abdullah Al-Rujaib High School. Free Basketball and Tee Shirts for all participants, with certificates and special awards on completion of each 6 week course. Qualified and experienced British and American Coaches, Everyone Welcome.


Kuwait Carnatic Music Forum Thyagaraja program


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.

Air India Valentine ‘Ladies Special’ offer he Maharaja is pleased to offer the “Ladies Special” on his flights from Kuwait to Indian Gateway Points of Ahmedabad, Goa, Hyderabad and Chennai as a special gesture to kick start the International Women’s day Celebration falling on 8th March 2013, with the following features: You will get a 10% discount on the base fare if you are an adult lady passenger and you are purchasing your ticket in February 2013 for travel between Kuwait/India/Kuwait on AI 975/976/981/982 for destinations Ahmedabad, Goa, Hyderabad and Chennai. You can avail it for your one way or return journeys. You may start you travel anytime between now and 31st Mar’13 We welcome all our valued Women passengers on board Air India to fly the Maharani way!


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

Najla Al-Naqqi hosts dinner for Aheba’a Misr delegation


he Najla Al-Naqqi hosted a dinner recently in honor of the Aheba’a Misr (Egypt’s lovers) delegation which visited Kuwait recently. The event was attended by Kuwaiti personalities, as well as the media consultant at the Egyptian embassy Mohammad Fawzi and members of the Egyptian community in Kuwait.

ESF Sixth Form students in their new Uniforms.

ESF holds special introductory evening


he English School Fahaheel held a special introductory evening for prospective Sixth Form students and their parents on 18 February at the Lloyd Webber Theatre. The event has been organized by Sixth Form staff. The evening provided information on courses offered at ESF and the extensive

counseling services offered to students when applying to Universities. Guests also viewed the impressive Sixth Form facilities ESF has to offer. Students at ESF have always enjoyed considerable success in attaining places at top Universities around the world. You too can be part of ESF’S select students.

Fankaar Arts


ishing all people of Kuwait. Happy National and Liberation Day. “Long Live Kuwait” on this occasion Mohd Rafiq (Bombay) decorated his car specially for this celebration.

W H AT ’ S O N


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


Tulukoota family picnic 2013

ulu Koota Kuwait Family Picnic 2013 was held on Friday, 15 February at Mishref Garden as always was a grand success. The picnic was inaugurated with hoisting of the Tulu Koota Kuwait Flag by President Ramesh Kidiyoor. As a symbol of peace advisory and management committee members released doves and balloons on the occasion. A grand march past was arranged and conducted by Suresh Shyam Rao followed by four teams, Koti Chennaya, Bappa Baeri, Jaya Vijaya, Dev Poonja, while the TKK cheer girls and cheer boys cheered them all the way. Ramesh Kidiyoor in his opening speech asked everyone to enjoy the family picnic with a spirit of sportsmanship. The sports secretary Ronald D’Souza declared picnic open by breaking

the coconut. The games started off with small children under 4 playing passing the cap and ribbon games while children from 4 to 6 played ball race and frog race. Children above 6 to 10 played lagori and bunny rabbit race, while children above 10 to 15 years enjoyed games like one leg & back race, kutti onne, tonka & skipping race and lemon in the pot. Ladies enjoyed the blind walk race, kodapana race, breaking the pot, shot put, while gents played pampu dantunu, breaking the pot, shot put. Couples played couple cricket and rock n roll, while seniors loved playing musical chair and passing the tender coconut. There were also games like Housi Housi, Govinda and Quiz open to all. Special attraction of the day was cock fighting. The Vice President,

Tharendra Shettigar, conducted a tough Tulu Quiz leaving the audience for more. The throwball tournament for ladies was won by Al-Rathat and the runners up were Udupi Friends. Kabbadi tournament for men was won by Navachetna A while the runners up were Navachetna B. Volleyball tournament was won by Noronha A and the runners up were Salmiya A Friends. Hasan Yousuf Chief Co-ordinator, United Karnataka Association, Elias Sanctis, Ex-President TKK, Ibrahim Pinto, sponsor & well wisher of TKK and Surendra Nayak Ex-President KKK, were present at picnic event. The event was beautifully hosted by Suresh Salian, Shalini Vijay, Ramesh Bhandary and Sushma Bangera. Banana Leaf Restaurant served a tasty

breakfast, soft drinks were freely served throughout the event by Ibrahim Pinto and a scrumptious lunch was set by Avanti Palace. Lightings and sound was arranged by Anand Illuminations and photography by Prashanth Shetty. Picnic was well organized and coordinated by the Sports Secretary Ronald D’Souza. The success of the event is owed to the whole hearted support of all the committee members, who toiled day and night to achieve their target. The grand raffle draw that was held at the conclusion of the event continued to interest one and all with the exciting prizes, after which the General Secretary, Wilson D’Souza gave out a Vote of Thanks. TKK also thanks to Public Authority of Agriculture Affairs & Fish Resources for their outstanding support.

EMBASSY OF CANADA The Embassy of 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, UAE 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: ■■■■■■■


Fahaheel Al Watanieh Indian Private School celebrates 3 Years of ASSET

his year, in the summer session of ASSET Examination, DPS performed extremely well with one International Topper - Aaron J Thomas from Class- V. Aaron performed brilliantly securing the top position in Mathematics. He did very well in the other subjects also and altogether has received Four Certificates and a Memento from ASSET. Many students received Outstanding Certificates for their great performances. Prinipal Mrs Anju Dheman praised and encouraged ASSET, mentioning that ASSET test helps to find the strength and weakness of the students, shows the measure to improve their skill and ability. She also congratulated Ms Sanghita Deb, Educational Advisor of El in Kuwait for completing 3 years of ASSET with DPS and praised her for all her efforts in doing the welfare of

Education in the Schools in Kuwait. She expressed her aspiration of more intensive participation of her school and better outcome in the time to come. Asset rewarded all the coordinators of the program, namely - C Sheeja, Harvinder Anada, Namrata Sharma Joshi and Shabnam Nilofer. Ms Sanghita, on behalf of ASSET praised them all for their sincere works and thanked them for all their support. Principal Mrs Anju Dheman and Vice Principal Ravi had been honoured by ASSET with Mementoes for their inspiration and support. Apart from Asset, El has launched another brilliant product- MINDSPARK. This is a computer based mathematics tutorial for the students. ASSET also rewarded Mrs Vandana Mehta, Mindspark coordinator for DPS in the pioneering year of Mindspark in Kuwait.

ASSET (Assessment of Scholastic Skills through Educational Testing) is the flagship product of Educational Initiatives, Ahmedabad-lndia. ASSET is a scientifically designed, skill-based assessment developed in India. The test provides detailed information on the strength and weakness of individual students, focuses on the misconception that the child has been bearing and provides possible remedial action. Established in 2001, Educational Initiatives believes in making a difference in education through personalized learning and ensures the students “learning with understanding”. El has 15 years of expertise in the field of Education with a deep understanding of child psychology and efficient methods of teaching in the most effective way. This is based on detailed research and formidable database of students learning through ASSET.

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

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

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



00:50 Animal Cops South Africa 01:45 Killer Rain 02:35 I’m Alive 03:25 Wildest Latin America 04:15 Wildlife SOS 05:05 Venom Hunter With Donald Schultz 05:55 Rescue Vet 06:20 Escape To Chimp Eden 06:45 Shamwari: A Wild Life 07:35 Wildlife SOS 08:00 The Really Wild Show 08:25 My Cat From Hell 09:15 Dogs 101 10:10 Animal Airport 11:05 Wildest Latin America 12:00 Animal Cops Houston 12:55 Rescue Vet 13:20 Wildlife SOS 14:45 Animal Precinct 15:40 Wildest Latin America 16:30 Escape To Chimp Eden 17:00 The Really Wild Show 17:30 Cats 101 18:25 Weird Creatures With Nick Baker 19:20 Breed All About It 20:15 Monkey Life 20:40 Wild Africa Rescue 21:10 Rescue Vet 21:35 Escape To Chimp Eden 22:05 Wildest Latin America 23:00 Mutant Planet

00:00 Homes Under The Hammer 00:50 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition 02:15 Come Dine With Me 03:05 Holmes On Homes 03:55 MasterChef 04:50 Living In The Sun 05:45 Bargain Hunt 06:30 Perfect Day 07:00 The Hairy Bikers USA 07:25 Bargain Hunt 08:10 Homes Under The Hammer 09:00 Bargain Hunt 10:25 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition 11:50 MasterChef 12:15 Perfect Day 13:05 Come Dine With Me 13:55 Baking Made Easy 14:20 10 Years Younger 15:10 Bargain Hunt 15:55 Bargain Hunt: Famous Finds 16:40 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition 18:00 Homes Under The Hammer 18:50 Rick Stein’s Spain 19:45 Baking Mad With Eric Lanlard 20:10 French Food At Home

00:00 00:30 00:45 01:00 01:30 01:45 02:00 02:30 02:45 03:00 03:30 04:00 04:30 04:45 05:30 05:45 06:30 06:45 07:30 07:45 08:30 09:00 09:30 09:45 10:00 11:00 12:00 13:30 14:00 15:30 15:45

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 World Business Report BBC World News World Business Report BBC World News World Business Report BBC World News Hardtalk BBC World News World Business Report Sport Today BBC World News GMT With George Alagiah Impact With Mishal Husain Hardtalk Global With John Sopel World Business Report 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 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?

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

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

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

Flying Wild Alaska Man, Woman, Wild Finding Bigfoot Mythbusters Border Security Auction Kings Auction Hunters How Do They Do It? How It’s Made American Guns Mythbusters Bear Grylls Wheeler Dealers Border Security Auction Kings Auction Hunters How Do They Do It? How It’s Made Flying Wild Alaska Man, Woman, Wild Finding Bigfoot Border Security Auction Kings Auction Hunters Unchained Reaction Wheeler Dealers Mythbusters

Hannah Montana Brandy & Mr Whiskers Replacements Emperor’s New School Brandy & Mr Whiskers Replacements Emperor’s New School Brandy & Mr Whiskers Phineas And Ferb Suite Life On Deck My Babysitter’s A Vampire A.N.T Farm Phineas And Ferb Jessie Good Luck Charlie Doc McStuffins Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Jake & The Neverland Pirates The Hive Mouk Jonas So Random Hannah Montana Sonny With A Chance Kim Possible Shake It Up Wizards Of Waverly Place Phineas And Ferb Austin And Ally Art Attack A.N.T. Farm Suite Life On Deck My Babysitter’s A Vampire Shake It Up Austin And Ally Jessie A.N.T Farm Good Luck Charlie Gravity Falls Suite Life On Deck Austin And Ally Phineas And Ferb Phineas And Ferb A.N.T. Farm Good Luck Charlie Jessie That’s So Raven

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

Cory In The House Phil Of The Future Hannah Montana Good Luck Charlie Good Luck Charlie Wizards Of Waverly Place Wizards Of Waverly Place Hannah Montana

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

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


00:00 00:55 01:25 02:20

Opening Act Style Star THS THS

03:15 Behind The Scenes 03:40 Extreme Close-Up 04:10 THS 07:50 Behind The Scenes 08:20 Opening Act 10:15 15 Remarkable Celebrity Body Bouncebacks 12:05 Khloe And Lamar 12:35 Khloe And Lamar 13:05 Married To Jonas 14:05 Kourtney & Kim Take New York 15:00 Style Star 15:30 THS 16:30 Behind The Scenes 17:00 Giuliana & Bill 18:00 E! News 19:30 E!es 20:00 THS 21:00 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 22:00 E! News

00:15 Guy’s Big Bite 00:40 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 01:30 Andy Bates Street Feasts 02:20 Unwrapped 02:45 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 03:35 Guy’s Big Bite 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 Food Crafters 10:05 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 10:55 Cooking For Real 11:20 Easy Chinese 11:45 Easy Chinese 12:10 Mexican Made Easy 13:00 Iron Chef America 13:50 Symon’s Suppers 14:15 Unique Sweets 15:05 World Cafe Asia 15:30 Easy Chinese 16:20 Food Crafters 16:45 Chopped 17:35 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 18:25 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 19:15 Symon’s Suppers 19:40 Charly’s Cake Angels 20:05 Guy’s Big Bite 20:30 Chopped 22:10 Iron Chef America 23:00 Charly’s Cake Angels 23:50 Unique Sweets

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

I Almost Got Away With It Dr G: Medical Examiner A Haunting Couples Who Kill Deadly Women I Almost Got Away With It Dr G: Medical Examiner A Haunting Undercover Killer Outbreaks Street Patrol Street Patrol Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Undercover Disappeared Killer Outbreaks Street Patrol Street Patrol Forensic Detectives On The Case With Paula Zahn Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? Disappeared Undercover Forensic Detectives On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared Nightmare Next Door Couples Who Kill American Greed I Almost Got Away With It

00:15 Kimchi Chronicles 00:45 Around The World For Free 01:40 A World Apart 02:35 Long Way Down 03:30 Banged Up Abroad 04:25 City Chase Rome 05:20 Lonely Planet: Roads Less Travelled 06:15 David Rocco’s Dolce Vita 3 06:40 Food School 07:10 Exploring The Vine 07:35 Kimchi Chronicles 08:05 Around The World For Free 09:00 A World Apart 09:55 Long Way Down 10:50 Banged Up Abroad 11:45 City Chase Rome 12:40 Ultimate Traveller 13:35 One Man & His Campervan 14:00 Food School 14:30 Exploring The Vine 14:55 Kimchi Chronicles 15:25 Around The World For Free 16:20 A World Apart 17:15 Long Way Down 18:10 Banged Up Abroad 19:05 City Chase Rome 20:00 Exploring The Vine 20:30 Kimchi Chronicles 21:00 One Man & His Campervan 21:30 Food School

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Animal Mega Moves Bears Of Fear Island Triumph of Life Dangerous Encounters World’s Deadliest Animals The Lion Ranger Expedition Wild Triumph of Life Dangerous Encounters World’s Deadliest Animals Raptor Force Cheetah: Fatal Instinct Hunter Hunted Monster Fish Triumph of Life Dangerous Encounters World’s Deadliest Snakes Monster Crocs

RESTITUTION ON OSN MOVIES ACTION 17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00

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

Dangerous Encounters Hunter Hunted Hooked Dangerous Encounters World’s Deadliest Animals Raptor Force Cheetah: Fatal Instinct

The Daisy Chain-PG15 The Rite-18 Restitution-PG15 Interview With A Hitman Metro-PG15 Legendary Assassin-PG15 Goal!-PG15 Metro-PG15 Burden Of Evil-PG15 Goal!-PG15 Ronin-18 The Running Man-18

01:15 Every Jack Has A Jill-PG15 03:00 Uncorked-PG15 05:00 Riddles Of The Sphinx-PG15 07:00 33 Postcards-PG15 09:00 Every Jack Has A Jill-PG15 11:00 Kung Fu Dunk-PG15 13:00 The Dragon Chronicles: Fire & Ice-PG15 14:45 We Bought A Zoo-PG 17:00 Honey 2-PG15 18:45 Moneyball-PG15 21:00 Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close-PG 23:15 Killer Elite-18

00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:00 The Colbert Report 01:30 The New Normal 02:00 American Dad 02:30 Family Guy 03:00 The Simpsons 03:30 Raising Hope 04:00 Gary Unmarried 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 Brothers 06:00 Seinfeld 06:30 Hope & Faith 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:00 Gary Unmarried 08:30 Brothers 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 Gary Unmarried 13:00 Brothers 14:00 Raising Hope 14:30 Modern Family 15:00 How I Met Your Mother 15:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 16:00 The Colbert Report 16:30 Seinfeld 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 The Simpsons 18:30 Raising Hope 19:30 The Mindy Project 20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:30 Louie 23:00 Family Guy 23:30 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

01:00 02:00 03:00 05:00 08:00 08:30 09:00 15:00 17:00 18:00 18:30 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00

Homeland World Without End In Plain Sight Good Morning America Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show Live Good Morning America The Ellen DeGeneres Show Emmerdale Coronation Street The Finder Franklin & Bash Awake The Carrie Diaries

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

The Daisy Chain-PG15 The Rite-18 Restitution-PG15 Interview With A HitmanMetro-PG15 Legendary Assassin-PG15 Goal!-PG15 Metro-PG15 Burden Of Evil-PG15 Goal!-PG15 Ronin-18 The Running Man-18

00:00 The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou-PG15 02:00 Extract-PG15 04:00 The Search For Santa Paws-PG 06:00 Cars 2-FAM 08:00 Elf-PG 10:00 Good Boy!-PG 12:00 The Search For Santa Paws-PG 14:00 Scooby-Doo-PG 16:00 Good Boy!-PG 18:00 Zathura: A Space AdventurePG 20:00 The Men Who Stare At Goats18 22:00 Tamara Drewe-18

00:45 Hindenburg-PG15 03:45 Incendies-PG15 05:30 Henry’s Crime-PG15 07:15 An Invisible Sign Of My Own 09:00 The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom-PG 11:00 African Cats: Kingdom Of Courage-PG 13:00 B-Girl-PG15 15:00 The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom-PG 16:45 Dear John-PG15 18:45 The Way Back-PG15

01:00 Never Let Me Go-PG15 03:00 The Tourist-PG15 05:00 Love And Mary-PG15 07:00 Page Eight-PG15 09:00 Alvin And The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked-PG 10:45 The Terminal-PG15 13:00 I Don’t Know How She Does It-PG15 15:00 Restless-PG15 17:00 Alvin And The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked-PG 18:45 John Carter-PG15 21:00 Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close-PG

01:15 Crab Island-FAM 02:45 The Adventures Of Scooter The Penguin-FAM 04:30 The Lucky Dragon-PG 06:00 Treasure Buddies-PG 08:00 Micropolis-FAM 10:00 Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil-PG 11:30 Marley & Me: The Puppy Years-PG 13:00 Twigson-PG 14:30 Treasure Buddies-PG 16:15 D’fenders-PG 18:00 Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil-PG

00:00 HSBC Sevens World Series Highlights 00:30 HSBC Sevens World Series Highlights 01:00 Futbol Mundial 01:30 Premier League Darts 05:00 Super League 07:00 Super Rugby 10:00 PGA Tour Highlights 11:00 Super League 13:00 Trans World Sport 14:00 Dubai World Cup Carnival 18:30 Futbol Mundial 19:00 European PGA Tour Highlights 20:00 ICC Cricket 360 20:30 European Tour Weekly

00:00 UFC The Ultimate Fighter 01:00 Trans World Sport 02:00 Top 14 04:00 Futbol Mundial 04:30 ICC Cricket 360 05:00 PGA Tour Highlights 06:00 PGA European Tour Highlights 07:00 Trans World Sport 08:00 World Cup Challenge 10:00 HSBC Sevens World Series H/L 11:00 Super Rugby 13:00 Premier League Darts 16:30 Super League 18:30 ICC Cricket 360 19:00 Top 14 21:00 World Cup Challenge 23:00 Premier League Darts

00:00 World Cup of Pool 01:00 Dubai World Cup Carnival 05:30 Top 14 Highlight 06:00 Golfing World 07:00 Golfing World 08:00 European PGA Tour Highlights 09:00 World Pool Masters 10:00 World Cup of Pool 11:00 Top 14 13:00 Top 14 Highlight 13:30 Golfing World 14:30 World Pool Masters 15:30 World Cup of Pool 16:30 Pro 12 18:30 Pro 12 20:30 European PGA Tour Highlights 21:30 Adventure Challenge 22:30 Top 14 Highlight 23:00 Futbol Mundial 23:30 Golfing World

00:00 WWE Bottom Line 01:00 NHL 03:00 Ping Pong World Championships 04:00 US Bass Fishing 05:00 NHL 07:00 WWE Vintage Collection 08:00 WWE NXT 09:00 Ping Pong World Championships 10:00 US Bass Fishing 11:00 NHL 13:00 WWE SmackDown 15:00 WWE Vintage Collection 16:00 UAE National Race Day Series 17:00 UFC 157 Prelims 19:00 UFC 157 22:00 UFC TUF 23:00 WWE Experience

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

American Pickers Pawn Stars Storage Wars Ancient Aliens Storage Wars Storage Wars Texas American Pickers Mud Men Pawn Stars American Restoration Ancient Aliens Pawn Stars Storage Wars Mud Men Pawn Stars American Restoration Pawn Stars Storage Wars Ancient Aliens Storage Wars Storage Wars Texas American Pickers Pawn Stars American Restoration Mud Men Storage Wars Storage Wars Texas American Pickers Pawn Stars American Restoration Mud Men Pawn Stars Storage Wars Ancient Aliens Ancient Aliens

Classifieds WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2013


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Sharing accommodation available in a 2 bedroom, 2 toilets, CA/C, new building in Farwaniya for Indians only for Mumbai, Goa or Delhi from 25th of Feb. 2013 for single lady/executive bachelors. Contact: 66625901. (C 4327) 23-2-2013

I, Abul Hasansa Duli, holder of Indian Passport No G3925520, issued at Kuwait, on 13.11.2007 permanent resident of 3 81A, Middle Street, SP Pattanam P.O. Ramnad Dist, Tamil Nadu and presently working at Sharq-Kuwait, do hereby change my name to ABUL HASAN with immediate effect. (C 4328) 25-2-2013

MATRIMONIAL Alliance invited for a Marthomite boy, age 29 years/182cms graduate born and bought up in Kuwait, currently working in Kuwait for American Drilling Company as a Logistic Controller. Invites proposal from God fearing well educated/employed girls. Email: (C 4326) 23-2-2013

Prayer timings Fajr:












No: 15732

Financially sound Ex. NRI Orthodox parents invites proposal for their daughter 29/152, ME+MBA, from parents of God fearing professionals with good family backgrounds. Email: (C 4325) 20-2-2013 Proposals invited from parents of Urdu speaking Indian girl - from Karnataka for a boy aged 26 years old/ 5.9ft, working in Kuwait. Interested please contact: (C 4321) 19-2-2013



Arrival Flights on Wednesday 27/2/2013 Flt Route



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Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (


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stars CROSSWORD 113

STAR TRACK Aries (March 21-April 19)

ARIES This is a good time for you. Your ability to express yourself confidently and openly wins you the respect and admiration of others. You can promote ideas and plans that you believe strongly in and, surprisingly, others do not resist you now. They quietly accept your proposals and ideas, and even provide some support. You may be highly attracted to someone new, simply because of the novelty and possibilities for adventure. Also, your friends or love partner may behave in unexpected ways, before jumping to a wrong conclusion, enjoy it if it feels good or ask if you find this upsetting. You are impulsively affectionate and flirtatious at this time, and you feel quite restless if you are in a stable, predictable relationship that offers little excitement.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) This is a time for you to speak out about your thoughts or concerns regarding your work or professional matters. Communication with your superiors or with people in authority who are in a position to consider and act on your ideas comes to the fore now. You feel tender and gentle toward others, and you want to please or to be of service to them in some way. Some selfless generosity or an effort on behalf of someone in need will make you feel very happy now. You may just enjoy a good movie or book or feel like escaping from the days realities for a while with a romantic interest. You can appreciate an imaginative approach and may value communal or futuristic ideas.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

ACROSS 1. Up to the present time. 4. A wrongful interference with the possession of property (personal property as well as realty), or the action instituted to recover damages. 12. The money risked on a gamble. 15. The capital and largest city of Japan. 16. The amount of electromagnetic radiation leaving or arriving at a point on a surface. 17. Leaf or strip from a leaf of the talipot palm used in India for writing paper. 18. A rapid bustling commotion. 19. The act of expelling or projecting or ejecting. 20. An extension at the end and at right angles to the main building. 21. An executioner who hangs the condemned person. 23. A Formosan language. 25. According to the Old Testament he was a pagan king of Israel and husband of Jezebel (9th century BC). 28. 30 to 300 gigahertz. 29. Being one more than one hundred. 32. A class of proteins produced in lymph tissue in vertebrates and that function as antibodies in the immune response. 36. A word or phrase spelled by rearranging the letters of another word or phrase. 42. An adult male person (as opposed to a woman). 43. A person who has been evacuated from a dangerous place. 45. Burrowing marine mollusk living on sand or mud. 46. Declare invalid. 48. Large high frilly cap with a full crown. 50. The United Nations agency concerned with the interests of labor. 51. Complacently or inanely foolish. 52. Not reflecting light. 53. (medicine) Chilly. 55. Beat with a cane. 59. A cravat with wide square ends. 61. Something that interests you because it is important or affects you. 64. A resident of Idaho. 68. Any of various strong liquors distilled from the fermented sap of toddy palms or from fermented molasses. 69. Of or relating to or characteristic of Israel or its people. 72. Relating to or characteristic of or occurring on the sea or ships. 73. A Chadic language spoken in northern Nigeria. 74. (British) A minicar used as a taxicab. 75. (folklore) A small grotesque supernatural creature that makes trouble for human beings. 76. Showing or causing joy and pleasure. 77. A deciduous tree of the family Ulmaceae that grows in the southeastern United States. 78. (Babylonian) The sky god. DOWN 1. Not only so, but. 2. Tropical starchy tuberous root. 3. Formerly included in genus Cedrela.

4. An evergreen tree of the family Ulmaceae that grows in tropical America and Africa and Asia. 5. The seventh month of the Moslem calendar. 6. Any place of complete bliss and delight and peace. 7. Intentionally so written (used after a printed word or phrase). 8. A small contrasting part of something. 9. Black tropical American cuckoo. 10. A native or inhabitant of Scotland. 11. A general conscious awareness. 12. Meat from an adult domestic bovine. 13. (Norse mythology) Goddess of old age who defeated Thor in a wrestling match. 14. A fine grained mineral having a soft soapy feel and consisting of hydrated magnesium silicate. 22. The dialect of Albanian spoken in northern Albania and Yugoslavia. 24. Of or relating to or measured in ohms. 26. An informal term for a father. 27. Direct in spatial dimensions. 30. (Sumerian) Consort of Dumuzi (Tammuz). 31. (Islam) The man who leads prayers in a mosque. 33. (Greek mythology) Goddess of the earth and mother of Cronus and the Titans in ancient mythology. 34. Characterized by slanting characters. 35. Out of fashion. 37. A communist state in Indochina on the South China Sea. 38. Merchandise issued for sale or public showing (especially a record or film). 39. The eleventh month of the civil year. 40. A communist state in the Caribbean on the island of Cuba. 41. Place in a line or arrange so as to be parallel. 44. (astronomy) A relatively small extraterrestrial body consisting of a frozen mass that travels around the sun in a highly elliptical orbit. 47. Unsupported by other people. 49. A river in northeastern Brazil that flows generally northward to the Atlantic Ocean. 54. A narrow thin strip of wood used as backing for plaster or to make latticework. 56. Scratch and scrimp. 57. Either of two masses of lymphatic tissue one on each side of the oral pharynx. 58. Someone who travels about selling his wares (as on the streets or at carnivals). 60. A separate part of a whole. 62. Using speech rather than writing. 63. A quantity of no importance. 65. A law passed by US Congress to prevent employees from being injured or contracting diseases in the course of their employment. 66. (in Gnosticism) A divine power or nature emanating from the Supreme Being and playing various roles in the operation of the universe. 67. (Babylonian) God of wisdom and agriculture and patron of scribes and schools. 70. A nucleic acid that transmits genetic information from DNA to the cytoplasm. 71. Belonging to or on behalf of a specified person (especially yourself).


Try to adopt a more confident attitude when you’re presented with things that have been a bit scary for you for a while. This could be your opportunity to get over this fear factor and start on a new footing. You may even impress a noteworthy person in the process. You may be feeling somewhat insecure about your current love relationship and unsure how to relieve your fears because you’re not really sure what is sparking your feelings of insecurity. If you can’t identify something in your mate that is causing your doubts, look to your past experiences for the cause. It’s likely you’re comparing your current relationship with a past bond that ended on a bad note. While there may be similarities, your current romance is very different and very unlikely to go down the same road as any of your past loves.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) You could be burdened with some external problem and may feel that you never have enough energy to solve them. You should not allow yourself feelings of defeat and should continue to persevere. It will be important not neglect your health nor your vitality today in order to prevent complications later. Relationships can get a bit weird right now or at least take an unexpected turn. The need for more freedom, independence, or novelty on your part, or on the part of someone close to you, may disrupt the status quo in an important relationship. Expect the unexpected in your relationships!

Leo (July 23-August 22) If you’re working overtime to try to improve your relationship but are not getting the responses you would like, it’s time to relax and offload. Love is a two-way thing and unfortunately, doing twice the work to keep things going is not a solution. Allow others to take responsibility for their own feelings as well. Sharing dreams and creating shared dreams and goals with your mate will create the foundation for a very rewarding future. To reap the full rewards possible it is important that you be as honest as possible, but remember to choose your words carefully and avoid ultimatums.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) Emotional outbursts may be unleashed against those whom you feel are trying either to dominate you or to create changes that are upsetting to your environment. Although these changes will be necessary in the scheme of things, you will find it difficult adjusting to them. The altering of these conditions will result in parting from loved ones, and finding it hard to let go. A sense of emotional coolness or detachment in personal relationships is the energy you are now entering. It’s ideas and goals that count for you now, more than personal concerns, and you may have little tolerance for people who do not operate at this level.

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Libra (September 23-October 22) Cool down when you come face to face with a group of people who may appear to have taken you for a ride. If you give them a chance, you could find that there are some things you have missed noticing along the way. A short trip may be in order. Lovers, children, and other people or things dear to your heart is the emphasis of the energy today. Being appreciated and admired for your gifts and talents is a powerful need for you, nothing at all wrong with wanting a pat on the back. Taking chances can bring big rewards, maybe not just for you but for all involved.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) Lack of confidence can put you in an emotionally bad place right now, so believe in yourself even when others don’t. Believe in yourself today and ignore the sometimes jealous remarks of others who would see you give up. Small, multiple moves are favored over big leaps, they mount up and you go just as far. Today is a day you may be powerfully attracted, emotionally and sexually, to someone you encounter at this time, and any romantic involvements you currently have are intensified. Expect fireworks! Also, your relationships can become tempestuous, especially if your partner is not as responsive or passionate as you would like.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) At this time your efforts to get ahead and advance your own interests are likely to be met with resistance or bitterness. You seem overly eager, pushy, inconsiderate, or too biased to your own goals, so that you alienate the people who could help you. Try to do as much as you can on your own, without trying to force others to agree with you or join you. This is a busy time with lots of communicating and getting in touch with others being the likely scenario for the day. Numerous phone calls, emails, meetings, errands, or discussions bring you into contact with others. This is a good time to brainstorm with someone you really care about and share ideas for future goals.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) Your thoughts are inclined to be heavy, critical, and pessimistic at this time, so it would be good to realize that you are only seeing part of the picture. This can also be a time of leaving, separating from friends and choosing a new way.Your mind wanders, and this can be a time of creative reverie or daydreaming. Avoid making binding contracts at this time. Feels like a time for change in your intimate and personal partnerships. A sense of emotional coolness or detachment at the personal level all combined with an emphasis on idealism. Your tolerance for those who’s energies aren’t in tune with yours is becoming more noticeable. Definitely a time to consider making some changes or even talking about the issues at hand.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) It’s a good day to gather the together those things you’ve been working on and realize that how much you really have accomplished. Projects should have adequate input by now and be winding toward completion, filling in details for next two weeks. All that hard work is showing, now it’s time to start finishing up the little details. Suppressed feelings can be transformed into compulsive actions all around, so it may be a good time to question motives, both your own and everyone else’s. If you just have to do or say anything, perhaps you shouldn’t. Take a deep breath first, count to ten and say it to yourself first. Think hard before you get too pushy.

Pisces (February 19-March 20) You’re probably torn between helping a friend in need or simply walking away due to their victim-hood status. You can only do so much, and there comes a time when you must step away and let them take responsibility for their own choices and problems. There is great depth to your conversations and thoughts. You find yourself revealing secrets or very private matters, and also asking very penetrating questions of others. Superficial answers don’t satisfy you now. This is an excellent time to learn more about your own inner depths.

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23915883 23715414 23726558


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Cool with light to moderate north westerly wind, with speed of 08 - 30 km/h and some scattered clouds will appear No Current Waarnings arnin




24 °C

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Maidan Hawally



23 °C

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W Hawally



20 °C

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26/02/2013 0000 UTC




Wind Direction

Wind Speed

New Jahra


Wednesday e


clouds to increase

25 °C

10 °C


06 - 26 km/h

West Jahra




sunny + raising dust

27 °C

12 °C


20 - 45 km/h

South Jahra




sunny + raising dust

28 °C

15 °C


25 - 45 km/h



clouds to decrease

29 °C

16 °C


20 - 40 km/h

North Jahra


North Jleeb




24 °C





MIN. Temp.

14 °C






66 %




19 %



MAX. Wind i

N 64 km/h






N Khaitan




.06 mm

All times are local time unless otherwise stated.



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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Sunny with light to moderate north westerly wind, with speed of 12 - 35 km/h and some scattered clouds will appear







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Expected Weeather for the Next 24 Hours




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

Iran 0098 Iraq 00964 Ireland 00353 Italy 0039 Ivory Coast 00225 Jamaica 001876 Japan 0081 Jordan 00962 Kazakhstan 007 Kenya 00254 Kiribati 00686 Kuwait 00965 Kyrgyzstan 00996 Laos 00856 Latvia 00371 Lebanon 00961 Liberia 00231 Libya 00218 Lithuania 00370 Luxembourg 00352 Macau 00853 Macedonia 00389 Madagascar 00261 Majorca 0034 Malawi 00265 Malaysia 0060 Maldives 00960 Mali 00223 Malta 00356 Marshall Islands 00692 Martinique 00596 Mauritania 00222 Mauritius 00230 Mayotte 00269 Mexico 0052 Micronesia 00691 Moldova 00373 Monaco 00377 Mongolia 00976 Montserrat 001664 Morocco 00212 Mozambique 00258 Myanmar (Burma) 0095 Namibia 00264 Nepal 00977 Netherlands (Holland) 0031 Netherlands Antilles 00599 New Caledonia 00687 New Zealand 0064 Nicaragua 00505 Nigar 00227 Nigeria 00234 Niue 00683 Norfolk Island 00672 Northern Ireland (UK) 0044 North Korea 00850 Norway 0047 Oman 00968 Pakistan 0092 Palau 00680 Panama 00507 Papua New Guinea 00675 Paraguay 00595 Peru 0051 Philippines 0063 Poland 0048 Portugal 00351 Puerto Rico 001787 Qatar 00974 Romania 0040 Russian Federation 007 Rwanda 00250 Saint Helena 00290 Saint Kitts 001869 Saint Lucia 001758 Saint Pierre 00508 Saint Vincent 001784 Samoa US 00684 Samoa West 00685 San Marino 00378 Sao Tone 00239 Saudi Arabia 00966 Scotland (UK) 0044 Senegal 00221 Seychelles 00284 Sierra Leone 00232 Singapore 0065 Slovakia 00421 Slovenia 00386 Solomon Islands 00677



LIFESTYLE G o s s i p

Applegate weds musician LeNoble E

mmy-winning actress Christina Applegate quietly married rock musician Martyn LeNoble at a wedding in Los Angeles, a representative of the “Anchorman” star said on Monday. Applegate, 41, and LeNoble, 43, exchanged vows on Sunday while the entertainment world was trained on the Academy Awards, the film industry’s biggest night. The couple was “surrounded by family in a private ceremony at their home in Los Angeles,” Applegate’s spokeswoman said in a statement. The couple, who have been together since 2008, engaged in 2010 and have a 2year-old daughter, Sadie. It is the second marriage for both. Applegate was most recently on the television comedy “Up All Night.” She announced she was leaving the NBC series in February over the show’s creative direction. Dutch LeNoble, a bassist, was a founding member of 1990s alternative rock group Porno for Pyros.

Jackson says she married Al Mana last year


anet Jackson knows how to keep a secret: The singer has been married since last year. A representative for Jackson confirmed Monday that the musician and Wissam Al Mana wed last year. This is Jackson’s second secret marriage. She secretly married Rene Elizondo Jr in 1991. They separated in 1999. The 46-year-old Jackson first tied the knot


Lohan guest-starring on Sheen sitcom

when she was 18 to singer James DeBarge, which lasted three months in 1984. In a joint statement to Entertainment Tonight, Jackson and Al Mana said their wedding was a “quiet, private and beautiful ceremony.” The couple also said they would like privacy and “are allowed this time for celebration and joy.”

Samberg, musician Newsom engaged


omic actor Andy Samberg and musician Joanna Newsom are engaged to be married, a representative of Samberg said on Monday. “I can confirm that Andy Samberg and Joanna Newsom are engaged,” Samberg’s publicist, Carrie Byalick, said in an email. The former “Saturday Night Live” comedian and the harpist have kept a low public profile since they began dating five years ago. Newsom, 31, was spotted on Saturday with a diamond ring on her left ring finger at the Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, California. A wedding date has not been announced. Samberg, 34, rose to prominence with his parody music videos for “SNL,” including “I’m on a Boat” with rapper T-Pain and “Mother lover” with Justin Timberlake, that drew a strong Internet following. Samberg left the NBC late-night sketch comedy show in 2012 after seven years. He starred in comedies “That’s My Boy” and “Celeste and Jesse Forever” last year and is currently on the British television comedy series “Cuckoo.” Newsom, acclaimed for her idiosyncratic and baroque folk music, has released three albums, most recently “Have One On Me” in 2010.

indsay Lohan will be playing herself, but as a therapy patient, in an upcoming episode of the FX sitcom “Anger Management.” Producer Lionsgate Television says Lohan will develop a romantic relationship during her sessions with the therapist character played by series star Charlie Sheen. Lionsgate says the episode is slated to air in April. Sheen and Lohan have also recently worked together in the upcoming “Scary Movie 5,” which is set to debut the same month. “Anger Management” airs Thursdays at 9:30 pm Eastern time.


Singer Morrissey says no to Kimmel, ‘Duck Dynasty’

he TV series “Duck Dynasty” is coming between Morrissey and Jimmy Kimmel. The singer and animal rights activist says he canceled his appearance Tuesday on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” because “Duck Dynasty” cast members will be on the talk show. Morrissey said Monday he can’t perform on a show with what he called people who “amount to animal serial killers.” A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” reality show follows a Louisiana family with a business selling duck calls and decoys. A&E did not immediately respond to requests for comment from it and the Robertson family. A person familiar with the Kimmel show’s plans confirmed that Morrissey was to appear. The person lacked authority to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. The person says Morrissey’s performance will be rescheduled.


Pitt and Jolie to have wedding ponies

rad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s wedding guests will be greeted by “leaping” Shetland ponies. The Hollywood couple - who raise six children, Maddox, 11, Pax, nine, Zahara, eight, Shiloh, six, and four-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne, together - are expected to tie the knot at their French estate Chateau Miraval, which boasts its own chapel, at the end of May and their lavish plans for the big day also include topiary elephants cut into the grounds, with each one representing a member of the family. Lucille Michele, the couple’s wedding florist, said: “Guests will travel past water fountains and Shetland ponies leaping as they go up the two-mile long drive to the house. “When the guests park, they’ll see the family of elephants. Brad hopes it will make them smile. Apparently, the elephants were the children’s idea. “They want the wedding to take place just before sunset, so that as they say their vows the church will fill with fabulous red, orange and yellow light. The lawns have all got new sprinkler systems in, so they’ll be green and lush for the big day. Brad wants the guests to say, ‘Wow’ the moment they sweep through the gates.” The ‘Moneyball’ actor is taking a very hands on approach to the planning, and is particularly keen that his big plans for the grounds of the estate provide a legacy that will last for generations to come. Lucille explained to the new UK issue of Grazia magazine: “Brad flew in two weeks ago and has given a team of eight gardeners very specific clean-up plans, along with planting instructions that he drew up himself ... Brad wants what they plant to help local wildlife for generations to come. “He’s spending in the region of £30,000 on flowers and says they’ve decided no cut flowers, just planted wild ones, so that in the future, their great-grandchildren can see where they made a promise to each other.”

Police: MC Hammer pulled over for expired tags


sheriff’s department spokesman in Northern California says a police officer stopped and then arrested MC Hammer because the ‘90s rap star was driving a car with expired registration and refused to get out of the vehicle. Lt Herb Walters of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement issued Monday that Hammer was “very argumentative” with the officer during the traffic stop late Thursday. He says it’s unclear who owns the car. Hammer eventually came out of the car and was arrested for investigation of obstructing an officer in the performance of his duties. Hammer, who was born Stanley Burrell, has offered a different account, suggesting he was the victim of racial profiling. He tweeted on Saturday that the officer asked him if he were on parole or probation and tried to pull him out through the car window. —Agencies



LIFESTYLE M o v i e s


M u s i c

T In this photo provided by Les Films d’un Jour, a still from the documentary “Tinghir-Jerusalem: Echoes from the Mellah,” shows Aicha Elkoubi, left, and Hannah Schmouyane, Moroccan Jews who immigrated to Israel, reminisce about the old days in Yavne, south of Tel Aviv. —AP photos

Kamal Hachkar, director of the documentary “Tinghir to Jerusalem” gestures from a balcony in Casablanca. —AP

Morocco film searches out Jews who left for Israel


undreds of members of Islamist and left wing political groups demonstrated outside the Tangiers Film Festival earlier this month against a documentary about Moroccan Jews living in Israel. They claimed that director Kamal Hachkar was promoting “normalization” with the Jewish state. But Hachkar was not expelled from the artists’ union, nor was his film banned, and he wasn’t ostracized from Morocco’s intellectual class, as has happened in similar cases in Egypt and elsewhere. Instead, directors and actors circulated a petition of support, and his film went on to win best work by a new director at the festival. Once home to some 300,000 Jews, the largest population in the Arab world, Morocco is increasingly taking a fresh look at its long history with Judaism and is spurning the flat rejection of all things Hebrew found in so many other Arab countries. In the film, “Tinghir-Jerusalem: Echoes from the Mellah,” Hachkar talks to people in Berber villages high in the Atlas mountains about their memories of the Jews suddenly leaving for Israel in the 1960s. He then travels to Jerusalem and finds many of these Jews, still speaking Moroccan Arabic and the Berber language, fondly reminiscing about the land they left behind. “It tells the story of a forgotten part of Morocco’s history, a history that is not taught at school,” Hachkar told The Associated Press. “My goal is to tell the human story and to defend the plurality of Moroccan history and identity.” The director, who was born in Tinghir but left to live in France with his father at the age of 6 months, has toured all over Morocco showing the film to what he says were packed houses. Most people were initially suspicious, but warmed to the subject when they saw Jews speaking Moroccan Arabic and even the Berber dialect of the High Atlas, he said. According to Zhor Rehihil, the curator of the Museum for Moroccan Judaism in Casablanca - founded in 1997 and unique in the region - Jews have been part of Morocco since Jewish merchants came to North Africa with the Phoenicians hundreds of years before the birth of Christ. For centuries they were found in the mountain villages alongside Morocco’s Berbers - the original inhabitants of North Africa - who mostly converted to Islam with the arrival of the Arab tribes in the 7th century. Morocco’s Jewish population was invigorated in 1492 when Spain expelled Muslims and Jews, most of whom fled to Morocco and brought with them the sophisticated urban culture of Andalucia. “The Jews in Morocco were everywhere, in the cities, in the small villages. It was a country with a large and vibrant community of Jews and with their departure, Morocco lost a large part of its history,” said Rehihil. At its peak in the 1950s, there were an estimated 300,000 Jews in Morocco out of a population of some 8 million. With the establishment of Israel and

the encouragement of Zionists, Morocco’s Jews left. Some went for religious reasons to seek the long promised land, some for a better life than in economically troubled post-colonial Morocco, still others who feared persecution. Unlike elsewhere in the Arab world, the creation of Israel did not spark widespread animosity or attacks on Jews. There were isolated incidents but no national campaign. Many Jews left, however, after being told by Zionist agents they were in danger, said Rehihil. “Each time there was an Arab-Israeli war, there would be tensions and the Jews would become afraid and some more would leave,” she said, adding that most had left by the 1973 war. Some 5,000 now remain, almost all in Morocco’s commercial capital of Casablanca. As in the rest of the region, however, there has been a heavy focus in Morocco on the plight of the Palestinian people and many Moroccans have started equating Jews with Israel. In May 2003, a series of al-Qaida-inspired bombings in Casablanca attacked, among other targets, a Jewish cemetery and a community center, which was empty at the time. Protests against Israeli military actions are a regular occurrence, the most recent in November over the latest clashes in Gaza. Tens of thousands marched through Casablanca and Rabat in demonstrations attended by members of the governing moderate Islamist party. “It’s not a matter of denying the history of Moroccan Jews nor attacking freedom of expression, but defending one of the principal foundations of the nation, which is to say, no to normalization with the Zionist entity,” said Mohammed Khiyi, a member of parliament with the Islamist Party for Justice and Development who demonstrated against Hachkar’s film on Feb 5. He contended that the film “is trying to do Zionist propaganda. The real Moroccan Jews were those which stayed in their country and were proud, not those the film tries to portray as victims of deportation to Palestine.” A surprising critic of the film is one of Morocco’s Jews, Sion Assidon, a leftist activist, former political prisoner and a member of a group advocating the boycott of Israeli products. “The film is effectively a vehicle for the message of normalizing with Israel,” Assidon told the AP. “The people we see are never once questioned about the essential issue, which is that they are colonizers occupying the land of another people that were earlier expelled.” The Moroccan Jews in the film do look back fondly on how well they got on with their Muslim neighbors and lament the daily violence and hatred that characterize the tense relations in Israel today with the Palestinians. About 1 million Jews of Moroccan origin now live in Israel. Some 50,000 Israelis - many of them Moroccan - visit Morocco every year, said Sam Ben Chetrit, the head of the World

Federation of Moroccan Jewry, who moved to Israel from Morocco in 1963. Ben Chetrit said that on a visit last year, “we were told (by legislators) ‘we are happy you are here, this is your home, but make sure you bring your children too.’” Israel has had a friendlier relationship with Morocco than with other Arab countries, and over the decades, the two have had trade, diplomatic and intelligence links, which have dwindled since the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising in 2000. Tourism, however, has remained constant over the years. Morocco’s monarchy, the real power in the country, has had a complex position of balancing advocacy for Palestinians with a historic role of defending the Jewish community. On one hand it has presented itself as a protector of Muslim Jerusalem, founding the Jerusalem Committee of the Organization of Islamic Conference to fund projects to help the Palestinians living there. In a speech at an OIC meeting on February 6, King Mohammed VI condemned “the Israeli government’s aggressive, unilateral practices against the Palestinians,” namely the expansion of settlements. Morocco played a behind the scenes role in the 1990s getting Israelis and Palestinians to talk to each other and hosted Israel’s then prime minister, Shimon Peres, in 1986. Tzipi Livni, then Israeli opposition leader, attended a conference in 2009. The monarchy has recently spoken more about preserving the Jewish heritage, and Judaism is enshrined as a component of the national identity in the 2011 constitution. In a ceremony this month that included German parliament speaker Norbert Lammert, the king sent Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane, of the same Islamist party whose members protested Hachkar’s movie, to inaugurate the renovation of the 17th century Slat Alfassiyine synagogue in Fez. “We are calling for the restoration of all Jewish temples in the different cities of the kingdom so that they are not only places of worship but also spaces for cultural dialogue to renew the founding values of Moroccan civilization,” declared the king’s speech, which was read by the prime minister. Rehihil said young Moroccans visiting the museum of Moroccan Judaism on school trips were often hesitant, until they saw how the clothes, caftans and other Jewish artifacts were familiar to them as just Moroccan. Then the stories come out, she said, as people recalled their grandparents’ experiences with Jews. “I am part of this new generation that did not live with the Jews,” said Rehihil, referring to those born after 1960. “The Muslims were traumatized by the departure of the Jews as well. You will not meet a Moroccan who didn’t have someone in the family with a Jewish friend, a Jewish neighbor, or worked with a Jew, or whose grandmother learned embroidery with a Jew or whose grandfather did business with a Jew.” —AP

Oscar hosting: Is it a thankless task?

driver of ratings for major live TV events. he love-him-or-hate-him reaction to Twitter said that there were a total of 8.9 milSeth MacFarlane’s turn as Academy lion tweets about the Academy Awards durAwards host is evidence that one of the ing the show and red carpet arrivals. That fell most high-profile jobs in show business is short of both the Grammys earlier in the becoming one of its most thankless. The month (more than 14 million tweets) and the “Family Guy” creator and first-time Oscars record 24.1 million tweets about the recent host seemed unusually preoccupied with his Super Bowl and halftime show. reviews both before and during Sunday’s Arguably MacFarlane’s most offensive show. He predicted he’d be ripped apart and joke, measured by the audience’s groans, he was, particularly on social media. He also referred to actors who had tried to play had his fans, with many suggesting the Abraham Lincoln over the years. “I would motion picture academy got precisely the argue that the actor who really got inside kind of performance it expected and wanted Lincoln’s head was John Wilkes Booth,” in hiring someone known for his subversive, MacFarlane said of Lincoln’s assassin. In addieven crude humor. tion, a pre-taped song about movies where As is often the case with the Oscars, the famous actresses displayed their breasts was major awards themselves - “Argo” as best picseen by some women as sexist - and a muchture, Daniel Day Lewis and Jennifer Lawrence echoed criticism of MacFarlane’s Oscar peras top actors - hewed closely to pre-show formance. “Watching the Oscars last night predictions. The host’s performance is the most unpredictable element of the show, and meant sitting through a series of crudely sexist antics led by a scrubby, self-satisfied Seth it seems the negative experiences have the MacFarlane. That would be tedious enough,” most mileage. David Letterman’s awkward wrote the New Yorker’s Amy 1995 turn is well-remembered, Davidson. most of all by him. Chris Rock “But the evening’s misogytried to bring some edge in ny involved a specific hostility 2005 and fell flat. James to women in the workplace, Franco and Anne Hathaway’s which raises broader questions snooze fest in 2011 is still than whether the Academy being talked about. can possibly get Tina Fey and After Franco and Amy Poehler to host next year. Hathaway, the Oscars It was unattractive and sour, returned last year to the tried and started with a number and true - eight-time host Billy called ‘We Saw Your Boobs.’” On Crystal - and faced criticism Monday, the Anti-Defamation that the reliable had become League added itself to the list the stodgy. To some ears, of those offended by MacFarlane’s material - which MacFarlane, protesting his included a song-and-dance joke, through the teddy bear number about breast-baring character in MacFarlane’s actresses, a domestic violence movie “Ted,” about Jewish conjoke involving Rihanna and trol over Hollywood. The bear, Chris Brown, and references to Mel Gibson’s racial slurs Host Seth MacFarlane voiced by MacFarlane, claimed didn’t make the grade. “If speaks during the show at he was “born Theodore you’re going to the edge, you the 85th Annual Academy Shapiro and I would like to donate money to Israel and have to be funny,” said comic Awards in Hollywood, continue to work in Joy Behar on “The View” California. —AFP Hollywood forever.” Monday. “To me, I love Seth, MacFarlane seemed completely aware of but it wasn’t funny enough.” Behar’s colleague, Whoopi Goldberg - a four-time Oscars what he was doing, and there were no indications he pulled any surprises. The motion pichost - had a bit more empathy, noting that ture academy granted him complete freepeople in MacFarlane’s position have a tough dom to write the show as he saw fit but did line to walk. The Oscars can’t force a younger see MacFarlane’s routines ahead of time. “If audience to be interested just by hiring a the Oscars are about anything, they’re about younger host, she said, and a younger host creative freedom. We think the show’s prohas to know the audience that is out there. ducers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, and host Robert Thompson, director of Syracuse Seth MacFarlane did a great job and we hope University’s Bleier Center for Television and our worldwide audience found the show Popular Culture, agreed that MacFarlane’s entertaining,” the academy said in a statewas a difficult position. “Your job description is that you are trying to appeal to people who ment Monday. Some critics figured MacFarlane was in a are not necessarily watching the Oscars to can’t-win situation. Brought on to deliver get them to watch, and at the same time “edge,” and perhaps some of the younger appeal to people who are actually watching it,” he said. “That’s not an easy thing to do.” The movie audience that enjoyed “Ted,” he was little known to a large portion of the Academy Nielsen Co said an estimated 40.3 million Awards audience. They didn’t know his style people watched the Academy Awards on of humor, either. “For a guy who had the deck Sunday, up 1 million from last year and the stacked against him before he started, first time since 2010 that the show topped MacFarlane did a surprisingly impressive job,” the 40 million mark. More importantly for wrote critic Tim Goodman in the Hollywood ABC, ratings for the 18-to-49-year-old demoReporter. Critic Frazier Moore of The graphic were up 11 percent over 2012. Associated Press said MacFarlane went back That’s the age group upon which ABC and forth between the Bad Seth and Good bases its advertising rates, and MacFarlane Seth throughout the night - and gave high was brought in this year in part to attract a younger audience. The telecast was likely also marks to both. “Both were very funny, stewarding a broadcast that never went askew,” propelled by the second screen experience, Moore wrote. —AP which has steadily grown in recent years as a

Television ratings up for Oscars, to 40.3m people


he Oscars telecast was seen by 40.3 million people, a slight increase over last year’s show. The Nielsen Company said Monday it was the most-watched Oscars telecast in three years. Last year’s show, when “The Artist” won best picture, had an audience of 39.3 million people. After bringing in “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane as host this year, ABC saw an 11 percent ratings boost over 2012 among viewers ages 18 to 49 years old. The Academy Awards exceeded 40 million viewers four times in the previous 10 years. The Oscars regained its traditional status as most-watched awards show, after the Grammy Awards topped it last year. —AP

Youngest Oscar nominee Wallis to play Annie


This picture taken shows South Korean boy band B.A.P., or Best Absolute Perfect, performing during their “Live on Earth Seoul” concert in Seoul. B.A.P. are currently supporting their EP One Shot, which was released in the US on February 13. —AFP

uvenzhane Wallis, fresh from the Oscars spotlight as the youngest ever best actress nominee, is to play “Annie” in a Tinseltown remake of the hit Broadway musical, filmmakers said. The nine-year-old, who drew praise for her amazingly mature performance in “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” will play the title role in “Annie,” also a remake of the Oscar-nominated 1982 movie. “With the recent Academy Award nomination and critical acclaim, (Wallis) is a true star and we believe her portrayal as Annie will make her a true worldwide star,” said Hannah Minghella, Columbia Pictures production head. “She is an extraordinary young talent with an amazing range, not only as an actress but as a singer and dancer, and we can’t wait for audiences to further discover her.” The new “Annie”-produced by Overbrook Entertainment, Marcy Media and Sony Pictures-will be released around December 2014, directed by Will Gluck and with producers including James Lassiter, Will Smith and Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter. Gluck is currently revising the film’s screenplay, written by British actress Emma Thompson and rewritten by Aline Brosh McKenna based on the stage musical. Wallis-whose favorite pastimes include singing and dancing, basketball, volleyball and cheerleading, according to the filmmakers-has already worked on an upcoming film, “Twelve Years a Slave” with Brad Pitt. She also has made “Boneshaker,” a short about an African family lost in America. “Silver Linings Playbook” star Jennifer Lawrence won the best actress Oscar on Sunday, beating shortlisted rivals including Wallis and, coincidentally, the oldest ever nominee in the category, 86-year-old French star Emmanuelle Riva. —AFP

Quvenzhane Wallis attends the 20th Century Fox And Fox Searchlight Pictures’ Academy Award Nominees Celebration at Lure. —AFP



Pariskicks off F A S H I O N

Fashion Week

Anne Hathaway wants to ‘kidnap’ her stylists


he ‘Les Miserables’ star thanked her army of make-up artists and wardrobe assistants -who include celebrity favorite Rachel Zoe - after picking up her Best Supporting Actress award at the Oscars on Sunday night and wants to find a way to say thank

you for their hard work. She gushed: “I’m kidnapping them, and I’m taking them away next week to say thank you for everything that they do. They are the most loving, supportive, generous, calm people, and I don’t know how they are able to do the work that they can with me going through all the craziness that I have and processing that. “I’ve worked with Kate Lee, a makeup artist, Adir Abergel for, I think, the past six or seven years, Rachel Zoe for the past seven or eight years, and for the past two to three years, I have worked with Jill Lincoln, who has come on to the Rachel Zoe Incorporated team... And I’m so grateful that I have such talented people working on my mug.” Anne made a statement on the red carpet in a baby pink Prada dress, which she teamed with Tiffany & Co jeweller y, and revealed the style team behind the look had become her life-long friends. Speaking backstage at the ceremony, she said: “We all really know each other. We are friends. We hang out outside of this. We are there for each other in life. We pull for each other.

Celebrity photographer Willy Rizzo dies at 84 Best Supporting Actress winner Anne Hathaway arrives on the red carpet for the 85th Annual Academy Awards. — AFP We’ve been to each other’s, well, they have been to my wedding. I’m going to go to theirs. “I don’t know how to describe it except that it does feel different. It feels like, you know, it doesn’t feel like we are all just doing a job and we are brought together through happenstance and employment, but we are actually invested in each other’s futures and present.” — Bang Showbiz


talian-born celebrity photographer Willy Rizzo, famed for his snaps of prominent figures ranging from Marilyn Monroe to Winston Churchill, has died in Paris aged 84, his studio announced yesterday. Rizzo, who also covered the Nuremberg trials after World War II, died in hospital on Monday, it said. His works appeared in leading magazines such as Paris Match and Life and his subjects included Salvador Dali, Brigitte Bardot, Gene Kelly, Maria Callas, Marlene Dietrich, Jack Nicholson and Jane Fonda. Tintin creator Herge paid tribute to Rizzo in “The Castafiore Emerald”, the 21st in a series of comic albums featuring the young reporter, by introducing a paparazzo named Walter Rizotto. Rizzo was married to Italian film star Elsa Martinelli and also launched a furniture line with strong clear lines inspired by Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier. — AFP

Models present creations by Ground Zero during the Fall/Winter 2013-2014 ready-to-wear collection show, yesterday in Paris. —AFP photos


lifestyle F A S H I O N

Models present creations by Steffie Christiaensduring the Fall/Winter 20132014 ready-to-wear collection show, yesterday in Paris. —AFP Photos

Aniston chose Oscars dress for toilet accessibility

DKNY apologizes for using photos without permission

Cara gets trademarked!


he British model applied to register her name as a trademark with the Intellectual Property Office last December and can now exclusively use it to build up her own business empire, according to The Sunday Times newspaper. The trademark bans companies from releasing products under Cara’s name, including perfumes, handbags and make-up. The 20year-old beauty has already ventured into the business world after recently registering her own company, Cara & Co, with her father, Charles Delevingne, listed as codirector. The stylish star is likely to be planning to branch out into fashion design after confessing earlier this month she wanted her own simple yet chic T-shirt range, and failing that, her own line of cosy onesies. Cara said: “I think there’s so many important things in fashion that people don’t do, like really simple cut tops, T-shirts. I love T-shirts and it’s really hard to find a plain, nicely cut top for your body. “I would love to design. I want my own brand of onesies. It’s kind of hard though. I’m trying to make it happen - someone contact me please, I’m ready!” — Bang Showbiz


onna Karan New York apologized Monday for having displayed, without permission, portraits taken by a New York photographer in its Bangkok shop windows. The fashion house also announced, in its statement, that it was donating $25,000 to a charity chosen by and in the name of the photographer, Brandon Stanton. Stanton, who was alerted to the Bangkok display by a fan, wrote a post Monday morning on the Facebook page of his blog “Humans of New York,” condemning the use of his photos without his authorization. The photographer said that, several months ago, DKNY had offered him $15,000 to buy 300 photos to display in their shop windows around the world, but that he refused, judging the offer insufficient. “I don’t want any money. But please REBLOG this post if you think that DKNY should donate $100,000 on my behalf to the YMCA in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn,” he wrote. By Monday afternoon, Stanton’s post was shared more than 35,000 times on Facebook, prompting DKNY’s response. The company apologized, saying the Bangkok store had mistakenly used the images from an internal mock-up. “We apologize for this error and are working to ensure that only the approved art-

Actress Jennifer Aniston arrives on the red carpet.— AFP


Brandon Stanton, creator of the ‘Humans of New York’ blog, is seen with his camera in this February 22, 2013 file photo across the street from Union Square in New York. —AFP

work is used,” the statement said. Stanton, 27, launched his blog featuring his photos of people and life in New York City in 2010. The blog’s Facebook page has more than 560,000 “likes.” — AFP

ennifer Aniston chose her Oscars dress because it was easy to go to the toilet in. The 44-year-old actress wowed in her scarlet gown at the prestigious ceremony at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre on Sunday evening , which she attended with her fiance Justin Theroux, and revealed her decision on the Valentino dress was down to convenience more than style. She joked: “It fits, it’s comfortable and it’s easy to pee in. You just lift, hoist and do a couple squats!”After being prompted by Justin, 41, to comment on the color of the piece, the former ‘Friends’ star added to People: “It’s Valentino red. Yes, Valentino red! I just loved the color.” While Jennifer seemed to have chosen her gown rather easily, other actresses took more time and deliberation over their outfit for the event. Jennifer Hudson who won Best Supporting Actress at the Academy Awards in2007 for her role in ‘Dreamgirls’ and also performed at this year’s ceremony opted for a sparkling blue Roberto Cavalli piece with a high-slit on Sunday, but admitted it took several days to come to a final decision. She joked before the ceremony: “It took three days of fittings, three hours each day to make my decision. It’s a serious decision. My stylist cried tears of joy [when I finally decided].” — Bang Showbiz

Morocco film searches out Jews who left for Israel



KUWAIT: The Photograph taken by Sherif Ismail won the best and most seen picture during February 2013, on the largest photography website in the world (500). The picture shows one of the rides in Kuwait’s Entertainment City.


s war came to Jerusalem in May 1948, Palestinian Omar Saleh Barghouti fled his home, leaving behind hundreds of his books, including years worth of his diaries. He would never see them again. Unknown to him, as the battle over the creation of the Jewish state raged, teams of Israeli librarians and soldiers were collecting tens of thousands of books from Palestinian homes in Jerusalem, Haifa, Jaffa and elsewhereincluding 256 from Barghouti’s home in the Katamon neighborhood. For Israel, the effort was a way to preserve books which would eventually be returned to their owners. But for the Palestinians, it was theft. Omar’s granddaughter Rasha Barghouti remembers his stories about his books. “He was a lawyer who had an office on Jaffa Street,” she told AFP. “He used to write a lot-his diaries, the history of Palestine, of Palestinian families, the Jordanian regime, the tribal law.” After two years in exile in Egypt, Barghouti moved to the West Bank city of Ramallah, reaching out to Jewish friends in what was now Israel to try and get his books back. “He explained when you lose your furniture, household items, you can replace them. But with his books, it was really as if he lost the woman he loved most in his life,” she said. His experience mirrored that of other Palestinians who lost their book

Palestinian books sit in Israeli library collections, including intellectual Khalil Sakakini, who wrote longingly about his books from exile in Egypt. The Barghouti family tried for years without success to locate the books, but until 2012, Rasha had no idea that they were most likely held in a basement in Israel’s National Library. There they are part of a collection of around 30,000 books, marked “AP”-”abandoned property”-and accessible only by special request. Gish Amit, a 40year-old Israeli, was looking for a PhD research topic at the National Library when he came across the collection, which includes religious books, personal writings, textbooks and poetry. “What I found out was that around 30,000 books were taken from Palestinians, mostly from private homes,” he told AFP. “They took every book that was found, then they started to catalogue. The whole process took something like 10 to 15 years.” Uri Palit, an elderly Israeli whose Jerusalem home is furnished with ornate furniture imported from Syria, became involved in the cataloguing process in 1963 after studying for a degree in Middle East studies with Arabic and Turkish. “My dream was that by the time I would have finished studying, there would be peace between Israel and the Arab states so I’d be of service to (diplomatic) relations,” he said. “But my hope was not

realized.”Instead, he took a job in the Oriental section of the National Library. He worked there for around a decade, recalling the special serial numbers and cataloguing process which he says showed the library always intended to preserve the

Burden of proof Amit, who is writing a book on the subject, says documents including letters from the then-library director show that Israeli researchers “considered these books to be very valuable, and they really wanted them.” “They

Israelis sit at the National Library of Israel on the Givat Ram campus of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem on January 3, 2013.—AFP books for eventual return to their owners. “We wrote the name of the owner in pencil on the books ... because we wanted to return it someday when there is peace,” Palit told AFP. “It was not a secret,” he said. “Everybody knew about it.”

said we are saving these books, but at the same time they said we want these books, we need these books, we will look after them better than the Palestinians... so it has a lot to do with colonial attitudes,” he said. He acknowledges that the library

catalogued the books carefully and kept them separate from the general collection, but questions why no efforts were made to return them. “War is an ugly thing, but what’s important is what happened in the decades afterwards,” he said. “The worst thing is the library’s refusal to acknowledge the injustice that was done to the Palestinians. “When I talked to the librarians there, they kept telling me that this was an act of rescue, even today. This I cannot accept.” And he says the library refused to cooperate when Arab-Israeli parliamentarian Jamal Zahalka requested that Sakakini’s books be handed to the Sakakini Cultural Centre in Ramallah. “They said they couldn’t do anything unless Zahalka would provide them with a complete list of Sakakini’s books,” Amit said. “This is ridiculous. The librarians are the only ones who can look through the books and make this kind of list.” In a statement to AFP, the justice ministry, which includes the public trustee officially responsible for the books, said the collection was considered “abandoned property.” “The law has clauses that regularize the issue of releasing the assets, according to which an asset or its equivalent can be released to the original owner who proves their ownership,” it said. Rasha questions why the burden of proof is

on the owners and their heirs. “They could contact the people who own them ... They could return them-but they haven’t done.” As a West Bank resident, she thinks it unlikely she would be able to get her grandfather’s books back. “I need a permit to even go to the library, I don’t believe they would do anything to help me,” she said. Palit, who spent his entire career at the library after “falling in love” with books, rejects claims that the books were effectively stolen. “It’s their narrative, but it’s not true,” he said. “They had abandoned their houses, their whole villages.”But as a book-lover, he acknowledges a twinge of sympathy at the thought of Palestinians mourning their lost libraries. “When I read Sakakini I was sad, because I’m also bound to my books, it’s an intimate relationship with books that I have,” he said. “So I felt empathy,” he added, with a sigh. “But we couldn’t act otherwise.”—AFP

Actors perform in the preview of the theatrical show Story of a Fort, Legacy of a Nation in Abu Dhabi yesterday. The show, directed by Italian Franco Dragone, tells the tale of a young Emirati boy who walks by Qasr Al-Hosn (Fort Palace) when suddenly a majestic falcon appears to tell the boy the story of the fort through a visual and musical poem. Through the boy journey the play explores the fundamental values and the historical characters that forged the identity of the United Arab Emirates.— AFP

27 Feb 2013  

Kuwait Times

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